Category Archives: Lifestyle

The Father’s Day Luxury Gift Guide

Posted on June 15, 2018

Father’s Day is almost upon us, and I’ve gathered together a few fantastic luxury gift ideas if you’re looking to treat someone special. I’ve included an array of fragrances, skincare, gift sets, tech and more. Enjoy!

Firstly I have this beautifully understated Daniel Wellington Watch – featuring a simple white face, with a gold bezel and navy blue leather strap. This watch would make the perfect Father’s Day gift – and if you’re interested, you can currently save £34.00 when you purchase from Browns Family Jewellers, just click on the above link!

On to fragrance now, I have quite a fabulous selection to share with you! Starting with a couple of niche scents – Amouroud Oud Tabac is described as deliciously intoxicating and unforgettable. The fragrance opens with spicy top notes of coriander and ginger, alongside saffron and sweet heliotrope. At the heart is an accord of oud, olibanum and amber wood, followed by an oriental base with toasted-caramel notes of vanilla bourbon, musk and Alaskan cedar wood. This is a stunningly addictive and unforgettable scent, perfect for for the more refined gent.

And Prudence Paris Alexandre EDT – The inspiration for this fragrance was Prudence’s father, Alexander who had a distinguish career as an officer in the Australian Navy. Spices permeate all aspects of the olfactory triangle starting with top notes of cardamom, mugwort and mint, before developing into a heart of orange blossom spiced with cinnamon and cumin. The final notes are a heady mixture of sandalwood and cedar, tinged with powdered notes of vanilla, amber and tonka bean at the base.

Fans of the brand will know you can’t beat L’Occitane for gorgeous gift sets, and the L’Occitane Cologne Cedrat Collection is perfect for Father’s Day. The Cedar scent is refreshing, energising and masculine, blending citrus notes of cedrat with icy cool mint and woody spices. The gift set contains 75ml L’Homme Cologne Cedrat EDT, 250ml L’Homme Cologne Cedrat Shower Gel Body & Hair and 130ml L’Homme Cologne Cedrat Spray Deodorant. All housed in a luxury L’Occitane gift box.

Now for something a bit different, how about The Personal Barber Shaving Subscription? You can purchase a single box (which includes everything above) or sign up for a subscription, where the recipient will receive a premium selection of classic wet shaving goods delivered to their door every six weeks. I think this is a great idea!

For music loving dads, the RHA Audio MA550 Headphones are a fantastic investment. Combining elegance and comfort without compromise, the MA650 are wireless, premium bluetooth in-ear headphones, designed for seamless compatibility; whether exercising, travelling, working or relaxing. The headphones feature a massive 12 hour battery life from a single charge, they are moisture, sweat and stain resistant, and offer enhanced audio with aptX and AAC streaming.

I always think cufflinks make a lovely gift, and these smart yet fun Paul Smith Cufflinks would make a wonderfully colourful addition to any Dad’s wardrobe. Crafted from silver toned brass, the cufflinks are adorned in a multi-coloured button design, complete with enamel plating and classic t-bar fastening.

Back to fragrances, next on the list is Laboratory Perfumes Amber EDT – Warm, sophisticated and distinctive, this fragrance evokes Britain’s country and coast with its complex scent that evolves on the skin, this fragrance is designed to follow you through your day with top notes of grass and greenery that matches the energy of the morning, the scent then matures into the rich spices at the heart and finally warm and earthy undertones of wood and balmy ambergris at the base exude a more subdued and reflective tone of the evening. I think my Dad would love this scent!

And YSL La Nuit De L’Homme EDP – Playing on contrast and overdose, Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit De L’Homme Parfum is a woody oriental fragrance opening with a fresh burst of bergamot and anise, immediately followed by the spicy, virile warmth of black pepper. Notes of lavender and labdanum release all their power to the trail, with the sensuality of patchouli and vanillaVetiver adds the final note to a stunning and unique fragrance.

How about the Urban Apothecary London Oriental Noir Candle – Daringly dark, this sumptuous fragrance entwines extraordinary floral notes with soft spices and wood. Infusing perfumed particles of powdered white orchid and lily intensified by spicy nutmeg and clove, it has an intoxicatingly smooth base of coffee, patchouli leaves and black vanilla pods to bring a lasting and luxurious depth to the scent. Hand poured and stirred by skilled artisans, it is encased in a black glass holder and is made from natural soy wax.

And lastly for fragrance, Dior Sauvage EDP (available at Demenhams) is definitely worth considering. Inspired by the desert in the magical hour of twilight, the powerful freshness of ‘Sauvage’ exudes new sensual and mysterious facets. The scent opens with notes of juicy Calabrian bergamot, and the woody ambery trail of Ambroxan is wrapped in the smoky accents of vanilla absolute – this scent would really make a fantastic gift.

Sipsmith London Dry Gin from Debenhams would also be very well received (in my opinion!) This is gin made the way it used to be. Sipsmith London Dry Gin was born out of a desire to see gin production return to the city where it earned its name. With a nod to traditional hand crafted production, this gin combines traditional copper pot distillation with a recipe that wouldn’t look unfamiliar to an eighteenth century Master Distiller. Bold, complex and aromatic smooth enough for a Martini, yet rich and balanced – perfect for a refreshing G&T.

Or maybe this rather nice Ted Baker Hip Flask – so Dad can enjoy is favourite tipple on the go? This flask is wrapped with navy blue faux leather and includes two stainless steel shot cups which sit comfortably within the popper lid – this is a fun accessory for nights out.

And lastly, what would a luxury gift guide be without Tom Ford? In fact I’ve only recently realised Tom Ford has his own For Men collection, including a selection of skincare and grooming products…

Tom Ford Noir Extreme EDP is a stunning scent, perfect for those wanting to make a statement. An enhanced version of the signature Tom Ford Noir Spray, Noir Extreme EDP is a bold and sophisticated woody-oriental fragrance – this is definitely one my husband would love!

Tom Ford For Men Purifying Face Cleanser – This water-activated, foaming gel cleanser has been developed to condition while it cleanses. Its lightweight formula conditions and hydrates the skin as it unclogs pores and prepares skin for a smooth shave. It rinses beautifully without drying, so your face looks and feels smooth, refreshed and energised.

And lastly the Tom Ford For Men Brow Gelcomb – Exclusively designed for men’s brows, the Tom Ford For Men Brow Gelcomb Defines Brows into a natural, healthy shape essential for the polished and sophisticated look preferred by Mr. Ford. With a specially designed precision comb and easy-to-use twist up applicator, the lightweight gel easily glides onto hair to tame and set brows into place. In a universally flattering tinted hint of colour, the brow Gelcomb adds shine and can be used on all hair colours and skin tones.

Tips For Turning Your Blog into a Brand

Posted on May 17, 2018

Back in the day, way back in 2013 when I started TSNC, blogs were overall pretty simple and straightforward online diaries, you’d write about whatever took your fancy, take a few snaps on your phone and Bob’s your uncle. Over the last five years though, blogging has completely changed – and though there still are people that blog solely for fun, it’s now a recognised and extremely lucrative industry – and more and more people want in on the action.

So now we’re in 2018 and content creators are more than ever producing engaging, innovative content as well as beautiful magazine-worthy imagery, resulting in them being coveted by brands across the globe. And in terms of numbers of content creators, the blogosphere is pretty much saturated – especially when it comes to fashion, lifestyle and beauty sectors, so it’s more important than ever to establish your brand if you want to stand out. It’s hard though – there are no rules. There’s nobody telling us what to do or how to do it, and most of us are just figuring it all out as we go along…

So with that in mind, when I was invited along to a Brand Building Workshop event in collaboration with Currys PC World and Microsoft, I was intrigued to find out what was in store, and how it could help me. Anna Hart from One Roof Social Influencer Marketing hosted and talked us through her ideas and tips to help bloggers on their way to branding success. I found a lot of this information interesting and some incredibly helpful, so I thought it would be a good idea to summarise the bits that stood out to me, and put them across in an easy-to-digest way so hopefully they might help you too!

I don’t just want to regurgitate word for word what was said at the event, instead I’m going to go through the talk in sections, and just share what I consider to be the best bits, as well as a few of my own thoughts (sorry this is a bit long!) –

Firstly, we learned a few stats about Influencers & Bloggers

  • 90% of influencers are on Instagram.
  • The UK only accounts for 7% of the world’s influencers, compared to 30% in the US.
  • Last year 27k people declared earnings to HMRC as Influencers or bloggers. This is expected to grow to 100k by 2020.

Interesting stats, no? These figures just show how incredibly fast the number of bloggers and influencers are rising – and therefore how important it is to cement your brand as soon as possible.

Something Anna said that was quite interesting, was to think of the Influencer Marketplace like a newspaper stand holding different publications. Some will be quarterlies and coffee table reads, you know the type of magazines that seem to only be printed once in a blue moon, the ones with gorgeous imagery – these offer memorable content which helps grow brand awareness. At the other end of the scale you have your weekly publications, where content is aimed at directing sales across a season or occasion, and lastly the daily reads, these are short snaps of content that’s quick to digest, including offers with limited timeframes.

Now this really got me thinking, if my blog was a magazine, where would it fit in? This is definitely a good starting point when working out your branding.

Next, one of the most important things is to Recognise your USP – this is your unique selling point, the thing that makes you and your blog stand out from the crowd. I think for many bloggers (myself included) this can be really difficult to figure out. There are so many of us now, doing what essentially boils down to the same thing. So what makes you or me special? What makes your blog stand out? What’s unique about it? I think when you’ve figured out your USP, it really gives you a sense of what your blog is about, and in turn what your readers expect from you – which then also helps with branding and future direction. To help you figure out your USP, you can start by answering a few questions –

  • What sort of content do I want to produce? (what do you want to create)
  • What sort of content do I want to discuss? (what topics)
  • How do I want to produce my content? (blog / instagram / Youtube etc)
  • What is my aesthetic overall? (what look are you going for)
  • Who do I want to communicate with? (who are your audience)

You can then gather your answers to get a clear idea of exactly what you want to portray – honing your brand, and giving yourself direction and a framework for future content.

Next – STRATEGY! We all need a strategy for both our content and social. Personally I know this is not one of my strong points – as in I don’t actually have one at the moment. It’s ok though, I’m planning a big overhaul behind the scenes so look out for me upping my game very soon! A good place to start when it comes to strategy is your Google Analytics (and if you don’t have Analytics, hurry up and get it set up) The point here is to take a good look at your stats, and learn from the information they’re showing you. Look at what’s doing well and what’s not, look where readers are engaging and learn from that what works on your site (and social) and of course utilise this information moving forward.

SEO – I’ll admit I’m pretty clueless when it comes to SEO – I know I should really know what I’m doing by now but I’ve just never really taken the time to figure it all out. A few simple tips Anna has offered might give you a good start if you’re a bit of a novice like me –

  • Always name your image files – goes without saying really!
  • Title your content logically – use descriptive words like the name of the item you’re talking about and brand names.
  • Link correctly – make sure your anchor text is relevant.

Understanding How Brands Work – Now I have to say, I found this part particularly interesting. When it comes to working with brands, from my own personal experience I’ve worked directly with the actual brand, via third party retailers (department stores for example) I’ve worked with brands via PR companies, and also via affiliates and SEO companies. It’s important to understand that not every one of these will have budget to offer for collaborations. Its worth noting that PR Agencies are usually relationship based, where the focus is who fit’s the brand’s look and style, and PR’s are often not given budget for influencer campaigns. Content Marketing and Performance Marketing teams are usually the ones that can create contracted work between brands and influencers.

Gaining Collaborations & Connections – This can seem tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Firstly get yourself a media kit put together, include all the usual stats, info about you and your blog, as well as your best bits – are you a Pinterest whizz? Is your engagement sky-high on Instagram? Maybe you have a loyal following in Slough!? (I’m sorry I couldn’t resist that) – but you get my point – anything that’s unique to you that makes you stand out, make sure it’s in there (and if it’s relevant to the brand you’re contacting, even better) Sell yourself!

Use your social networks to connect with others, LinkedIn can be great for this – and don’t be afraid to Pitch to Brands – it’s important to aim to create meaningful partnerships that are beneficial to both parties. Let the brand know why you love them, why you’d be the perfect fit, and most importantly what you can offer – back this up with stats, examples and previous work. And of course they may say no, and that’s totally fine, just make sure you ask why, and use it as a learning experience for next time.

I also wanted to touch on Transparency – Never underestimate how important it is to be transparent when it comes to your content. Your blog post is sponsored? Say so. You were gifted an item? Say so. It only takes a moment to include this in your content and it’s incredibly important for readers to feel like you’re being straight up with them.

There are a few other bits that I haven’t included, but we’d definitely be here all day if I did! So lastly, I just wanted to talk about Technology & Kit – I know may people will say you can just use your phone to do everything, but my personal opinion is that as soon as you decide you want to take blogging seriously, you really need to buy the best kit you can afford. Blogs are becoming more and more professional in appearance, and the fact is, if you want to keep up you’re going to need decent technology. I’ve recently upgraded my camera and it was the best decision I’ve ever made! This is what I’m using right now –

  • Canon 80D Camera – This is my brand new camera and I absolutely love it!
  • Sigma 18-35mm Lens – And this is also my new lens, it was pretty expensive but I got it second hand, and I definitely see it as an investment.
  • Apple MacBook Pro – My current laptop, again pricey but worth it.

And I also wanted to give special mention to the Microsoft Surface Pro – I haven’t actually used a Surface Pro, but Microsoft were on hand at the event to talk us through their latest products, and I have to say it sounds fantastic – and a great alternative to a MacBook if you’re looking for something more portable. The Microsoft Surface Pro has been developed specifically with creative types in mind, and of course it features the latest tech to help you develop your ideas and work at your very best. It’s great for editing complex documents, business use, editing photos, and anything else you do throughout the day. Essentially its touch screen device incorporating the lightweight portability of a tablet, with all the features of a laptop, so it’s pretty handy. You can type on it (with the added Typecover keyboard) just like you would a normal laptop, you can use the touchscreen, and also draw on it with the Surface Pen. It honestly sounds really good! (and their new Office 365 Suite sounds pretty awesome too!)

In the interest of transparency, I also wanted to mention that this blog post is not sponsored, but it does give me a very small chance of winning my own Surface Pro – how amazing would that be! Keep your fingers crossed for me guys!

Anyway apologies for this being a super long post, I actually cut a fair bit out already! I hope the info I’ve included has been of some use – if you have any other tips on how to help build your brand, please do let me know xx

The Luxury Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Posted on March 7, 2018

Hi Guys!

How is it nearly Mother’s Day!? Im pretty sure it was only just Christmas! I’m looking forward to a day window shopping in Norwich on Saturday, and hopefully being served breakfast in bed and generally just getting spoiled rotten on Sunday! If you’re thinking of spoiling Mum this year and fancy going a bit extra, I have a fab selection of luxury gift ideas for you today – I hope you enjoy!

Firstly, I have this beautiful Thomas Sabo Together Forever Heart Necklace – designed to represent an eternal bond between two people, this delicate silver necklace features a dainty white zirconia heart intertwined into a ring, which is engraved with the words ‘Together Forever’. This adorable necklace would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift! The necklace box also sits here on a lovely peach HAY Kaleido Hexagon Tray. This quirky angular tray comes in a selection of shades and has a modern matte finish. It’s just the perfect size for displaying fragrances and beauty treats on your dressing table 🙂

On to fragrance now, and I have a few gorgeous niche and high end scents to share – Evody Fleur d”Oranger EDP is a captivating woody citrus fragrance, opening with top notes of fresh and sparkling bergamot and mandarin, leading to a heart of sweet orange flower and neroli, and a sensual, warming base of musk and white wood.

I also have the beautiful Annick Goutal Tenue de Soirée EDP – this is a stunning contemporary chypre fragrance, taking inspiration from a young woman deciding what she will wear before her evening out in Paris. The bottle is of course gorgeous, with it’s fun and playful pompom and engraved medal, and the scent also reflects these boudoir elements – with fresh top notes, silky iris at the heart, and an addictive sweet base, Tenue de Sioree leaves a wonderfully soft gourmand kiss on the skin.

Jeroboam Ambra EDP is also one to watch our for. This is the second fragrance I’ve tried from Jeroboam, and it’s just as beautiful as the first! Ambra, meaning ‘amber’ in Esperanto, is modern, daring and sensual. The scent opens with top notes of bergamot, geranium and incense that give way to a heart of Peru balsam and patchouli, and base notes of vetiver, vanilla, tonka bean and enigmatic musks provide a sensual dry down to this luxurious fragrance.

And Carthusia Gelsomini Di Capri EDP – this is probably my favourite scent so far. Gelsomini di Capri evokes the magical feeling of a sun-drenched island sanctuary blooming with jasmine and fragrant bouquets that softly wave in the fresh breeze. Bergamot, lemon and yellow mandarin open the fragrance, softening into a sensual floral heart of jasmine grandiflorum absolute that rests on an opulent base of Italian ginestra and orange blossom, amber, and cashmere wood.

And I also have E.Coudray Rose Tubereuse EDT – on initial spritz I thought this scent might be a bit too ‘grown up’ for me, but I have to say, it does have the most beautiful dry down that lasts for hours. Rose Tubereuse would be perfect for fans of intense, floral scents, with distinct notes of tuberose and sandalwood.

  • Top Notes: Bergamot, Rhubarb, Mandarin, Clove and Guava.
  • Herat Notes: Bulgarian Rose, Tuberose, Geranium, Jasmine and Ylang Ylang.
  • Base Notes: Vanilla, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Patchouli, Musk and Benzoin.

On to skincare now – the Caudalie Premier Cru Eye Care Gift Set would make a wonderful Mother’s Day gift! The set contains three mini Premier Cru products, including The Eye Cream 15ml, which tackles signs of ageing, including dark circles and puffiness, whilst brightening and smoothing the eye area. The Precious Oil 10ml, which melts into the skin leaving it instantly smoothed, nourished and brightened. And The Cream 15ml, which hydrates the skin, whilst restoring density and smoothing wrinkles, to reveal a firmer, more radiant complexion.

Or how about the brand new Caudalie Premier Cru Serum? Formulated with Caudalie’s patented Vinergy® complex, this luxurious, gel-like serum promises to intensely revitalise the skin to correct the signs of ageing. The highly concentrated formula boosts the effectiveness of your current anti-ageing cream to reveal skin that appears visibly younger, more radiant and revitalised.

Moving on to something a little different, how about this beautiful Lola Design White Tailed Stag Print? Lola Design offer a wide range of animal prints, and the White Tailed Stag print is from the Wildlife Botanical collection, which also includes bees, humming birds, owls, and many more fabulous creatures – all of which feature beautiful floral details, and are available as stand-alone prints or pre-mounted and framed to your specification.

I also have this striking Lauren Dickinson Clarke The Poet Mug This design was influenced by the romantic yet heart breaking story of Dara Maar, one of the many muses and lovers of Picasso. Widely recognised as his most famous muse, Dora was the subject of many cruel jokes played on her by Picasso and they indulged in a turbulent relationship coloured by art, passion & tension.

Back to skincare now, I have the fab By Terry Baume De Rose Beauty To Go Set which contains a selection of products from the By Terry Baume de Rose collection, all housed in a pink faux leather pouch. Included you’ll find a Face Cream 30g, Hand Cream 30g, Body Cream 50g and a Lip Care 0.2ml. I’ve displayed the products here in a beautiful Julia Knight Eclipse Bowl in Marble Mist – the aluminium on the bowl has been shaped by hand to create a rustic, imperfect edge and finished with a distressed metallic sheen and marble look enamel interior. This would make a fantastic snack bowl!

If Mum is a fan of luxury body products, Thameen Carved Oud Body Lotion could make the perfect gift. It’s enriched with the finest grade argan oil and shea butter, combining these nourishing ingredients with a luxury oud fragrance. Carved Oud is a heavenly blend of South Indian oud, with cedarwood, patchouli and Haitian vetiver, rounded off with a smooth musk at the base.

I also have a couple of brand new skincare products from Filorga. The Filorga Lift Structure Cream is an ultra-lifting cream formulated with active ingredients derived from the latest research into biotechnology, for a complete anti-ageing effect. Included in a cream for the first time, Plasmatic Lifting Factors® visibly tighten the features, plump the skin and sculpt the face. And the Filorga Lift Designer Serum is an ultra-lifting serum promising a radical anti-ageing effect. The formula includes a duo of ultra-tightening active agents, combined with a roll-on applicator to stimulate the skin tissue, to lift and smooth the complexion.

Or how about the Issey Miyake L’Eau d”Issey EDT Gift Set which includes a generous 100ml body lotion and 50ml L’Eau d’Issey fragrance. This timeless yet modern fragrance is a beautiful fresh floral, that’s noticeably aquatic and woody, with notes of lilies and soft freesia combined with sensual precious woods at the base.

And lastly, I have the stunning L’Occitane Terre de Lumiere L”Eau Luxury Collection. L’Occitane’s latest fragrance, Terre de Lumiere L’Eau is a scent inspired by blooming flowers in the dawn light in Provence. Opening with notes of bergamot and pink pepper reminiscent of the fresh air of dawn. Then, just as the sun warms the earth, floral notes blossom revealing voluptuous accords of white musk and tonka bean. This luxury gift set includes a generously sized 90ml Eau de Toilette, Gentle Shower Gel, Beautifying Body Lotion, Radiant Balm and Perfumed Soap, all housed in a L’Occitane signature gift box.

I hope you enjoyed my post xxx

This post contains press samples

Home & Interiors: Must Try Candles feat Fornasetti, Cire Trudon & More.

Posted on November 7, 2017

Hi Guys!

It’s only in recent years that I’ve become a big fan of scented candles. I love how they can transform a room into a welcoming space, evoking feelings of warmth and calm on a chilly day, or how fruity citrus scents can energise and liven up an atmosphere – anyway, I have a few candles to share with you today that I’ve gathered together over the last couple of months. This is quite an eclectic selection both in terms of price and scents so I hope there’s something for everyone here –

Starting with the stunning Fornasetti Fior Di Lina Scented Candle (£140.00 at Amara) – Fornasetti really is the height of luxury when it comes to candles, and one of their latest releases, the Fior Di Lina Scented Candle is a must have for fans of the brand.

Housed in a typical Fornasetti designed casing, the Fior Di Lina candle looks as good as it smells. It features the beautiful enigmatic face of Lina Cavalieri surrounded by flowers and butterflies, and once you’ve finished burning the candle, you can keep the container as a decorative planter that would look stunning in any home. The fragrance is gorgeous as expected, it has a lovely fresh floral scent, with notes of lily, jasmine, and tuberose, and a base of warm sandalwood, and the generously sized 300g candle will burn for up to 60 hours.

Another find from Amara is their own brand A by Amara Sicilian Lemon & Sea Salt Candle (£50.00 at Amara) – still on the pricey side, this luxury scented candle has a beautiful fresh and sparkling citrus scent with a woody base, including notes of Sicilian lemon and sea salt with a base of blonde wood. This A By Amara candle is made from natural wax, with a high 10% perfume content, and it’s housed in a beautiful grey marble finish ceramic vessel, with a gold printed A for Amara Collection on the lid. If you’re a fan of bright citrus scented candles, this is definitely worth a try.

I also have the beautiful Cire Trudon Reggio Candle (£78.00 at John Lewis and Amara) – This is my first ever candle from Cire Trudon, and Reggio truly is a stunning scent. With notes of grapefruit, mandarin and mimosa, this fragrance is inspired by the iconic city of Southern Italy. Reggio embodies the easy-going Italian way of life – citrus trees and thousand-year old olive trees grow, facing its Reggio’s legendary bay, whilst Calabrese mandarin fills the orchards with its perfume. The idyllic scent of this city is captured within this striking looking candle which is housed in a midnight blue vessel with golden Cire Trudon label – I definitely can’t wait to try more candles from this brand now!

Moving on to slightly more affordable options now, another first for me is the Arum London Coconut & Lime Candle (£34.00 at Arum London) – this candle just smells gorgeous, this scent is the perfect combination of juicy lime, balanced with notes of creamy coconut. Their candles are all hand poured and made from 100% natural paraffin-free wax, including a blend of perfumes and essential oils, and will burn for approximately 40 hours.

Arum have also just launched their new Autumn / Winter collection, containing some beautiful sounding scents such as Tea Rose & Clove, and Oats & Honey, which would be perfect for Christmas time.

I also have the Boy Smells Petal Candle (£32.00 at Osmology) – firstly, I love the name of this brand! Boy Smells is a Los Angeles based brand, where their hand poured candles contain a blend of beeswax and coconut oil, with a braided cotton wick. The Petal Candle has a modern floral scent, balancing high notes of magnolia, tuberose and purple geranium, with the depth and warmth of golden amber and exotic musk. Not overly sweet, this is the perfect daytime candle that will work in any room of your house. In terms of packaging, I love the contrast of the black glass tumbler with the matte pink label and carton. If you like your candles to be chic, modern and minimal, this is definitely a brand to try.

I also wanted to mention Osmology, the site this candle came from. This store is basically heaven for candle fans as they stock a vast range of niche brands from across the world – take a look and I promise you won’t be disappointed!

And lastly I have a couple of large tumbler candles from the Isle of Skye Candle Company. (£18.00 at Skye Candles) – again, this is another brand that creates hand made candles, using only natural soya wax – and they promise their unique combination of wax and oils gives some of the longest and cleanest burn times around, and their wicks have been specially developed to optimise the burn so that no wax is left in your glass when it has burnt all the way to the bottom.

I have the Lemongrass candle, which is made of pure lemongrass distilled straight from the plant. This scent is perfect if you’re in need of re-energising. And Pomegranate & Plum – this is a fantastically juicy fruity fragrance that’s just right for livening up your space on a daily basis.

If you’re looking for more wintery scents, Skye Candles also have plenty of options available – the Cinnamon and Ginger & Nutmeg candles sound gorgeous!

Are you a fan of scented candles? I’d love to hear what your favourites are! I hope you enjoyed my post xxx

This post contains press samples

Slimfast New Advanced Vitality Range & #SlimFastBreakfastClub Twitter Chat!

Posted on September 26, 2017

Hi Guys!

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know I’m a big fan of SlimFast – as someone that struggles with my weight I’ve found their products to be incredibly helpful when I decide to start shifting the pounds.

SlimFast have recently sent over some of their new products to try from their Advanced Vegan Vitality Range, which now includes Strawberry Kick flavour, as well as new Vegan options, Strawberry & Blueberry Burst and Intense Mint Chocolate. If you’re not familiar with the new Advanced Vegan Vitality range, it’s basically a brand new, enhanced and updated version of their classic powder meal replacement shakes…

Discover a holistic way to lose weight helping you to feel great on the inside and out. Our unique SlimFast Advanced Vitality shake recipe is made with selected ingredients to support your metabolism and reduce tiredness and fatigue – essential when losing weight and keeping it off. With no added sugar, high in protein and fibre and with 23 vitamins and minerals in every serving, it’s perfect whether you are on a diet or looking for a balanced meal alternative.

A few more things you should know about the Advanced Vegan Vitality range – firstly, you don’t add milk like you would with SlimFast’s original powder shakes, you just add cold water, making them even easier to make up when you’re out and about. You’d think this might deter from the flavour, but surprisingly it really doesn’t! (There are also have 4 other flavours that can be enjoyed with milk too). Also, they contain less calories than the original shakes, at only 220 calories per serving – net bad hey!

I’ve been trying out the Strawberry & Blueberry Burst flavour, as well as more recently the Intense Mint Chocolate flavour too. Both of these are vegan, and they both contain the same vitamins and benefits as the non-vegan options which is fantastic.

I’ve personally found the Strawberry & Blueberry Burst flavour to be my favourite – it’s very similar to the traditional Strawberry SlimFast but just feels a little extra. I love that the new Vitality range includes a load of added extras in terms of vitamins and minerals to give you more energy, and the texture also gets a thumbs up as it contains little chunks of dried fruit, which makes it more of a ‘meal’ than just a smooth milkshake.

On that note, of course you can always pimp your shakes by adding almost anything you like, to tailor make them to your taste. SlimFast recommend adding a handful of cacao nibs or frozen berries for an added boost, which adds less than 100 calories to your shake.

I’ll be co-hosting the SlimFast 3.2.1 Breakfast Club Twitter party from 9am to 9.30am on Wednesday 27th September where we’ll be chatting all things SlimFast including discussing their  new products, tips and general chat, and there will also be a prize for one lucky participant. Everyone is welcome, just follow the hashtag #SlimFastBreakfastClub from 9am and join in the fun!

SlimFast Advanced Vegan Vitality products are £14.99 per pack and available now at Tesco, and the rest of the range is available at Boots (currently buy one get one half price)

I hope you enjoyed my post xxx

This post is sponsored by SlimFast

Food & Drink: Adding A Twist To Classic Cocktails With Thebar.com

Posted on August 15, 2017

Hi Guys!

thebar.com recently got in touch and asked me to share my favourite classic cocktail recipe from their site, but with an added personal twist – and hopefully this will inspire you to make your own cocktails at home this summer!

I’m a big fan of cocktails, and love anything that’s particularly sweet in flavour. On the odd occasion where I do get to try a cocktail, I would usually go for a vodka or gin base, with sweet, fruity juices and flavourings. After looking at all the cocktail recipes on thebar.com, I actually found it quite hard to whittle it down to just one to try out! It was a close call between the classic Pimms and Lemonade, and the gin based English Garden cocktail. In the end, English Garden just won by a hair as I thought this was the one I’d be able to have the most fun experimenting with.

The English Garden cocktail, in case you’re not familiar with it, of course contains gin as I’ve just mentioned, as well as sweet juices, sugar syrup, mint and cucumber, combined together to make the perfect summer patio drink. I’ve been thinking how I can add my own twist to this – after trying out the original cocktail (which I love) it was quite hard to think how I could make it any better! After racking my brains thinking what I could possibly add to this that would ‘go’ with the current ingredients and also (hopefully) taste nice. I came up with a few ideas –

  • Elderflower
  • Blood orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Blackberries
  • Lemon
  • Pineapple juice
  • Edible flowers (for decoration)

So armed with my list, I took to the shops to pick up all the ingredients – I couldn’t wait to start experimenting! First of all, I couldn’t find any blood oranges, so I had to cross this off. I could have gone with normal oranges instead but I didn’t feel they were quite fancy enough so I decided to just pick up the other ingredients.

Next up was grapefruit – I’m not the biggest fan of grapefruit on it’s own, but I have had it in both cocktails and soft drinks and I’ve really enjoyed it in the past. Now this is my second fail, where you’ll be able to tell that I’m really not used to making cocktails – so I bought an actual grapefruit. Not grapefruit juice, a whole massive grapefruit. I’m not sure what was going through my head when I was in the supermarket, but I just saw it, though ‘ah I need grapefruit’ and off I went on my merry way. Once I was home and realised my error, I thought I might as well use it, so I tried mushing it up. Well as you can imagine this didn’t work out, and let’s just say the whole thing was a disaster!

So, on to the rest of the ingredients… after adding pineapple juice to the cocktail (nope this just wasn’t right) and then a splash of lemon juice (this wasn’t too bad, but just felt neither here nor there really) it just seemed like nothing was really working so far – until I tried the elderflower…

I love Elderflower cordial any way, and it just seemed like the right type of flavour to go with a gin cocktail – plus at this point I was really running low on options – so luckily, after trying a few different combinations, the obvious winner was Elderflower. I used about 20ml of my other half’s extremely tasty handmade elderflower cordial that he made a few months ago (you can pick this up cheaply at most supermarkets too) I know this isn’t the most ‘out there’ twist I could have gone with for this cocktail, but it really did taste great so I was more than happy with the outcome. I also added a sprinkle of flowers from the garden, including jasmine and daisies to really make the drink look special!

I had so much fun experimenting this weekend! If you’re a fan of cocktails yourself, definitely check out the large selection of recipes available at thebar.com for some fab summer cocktail inspiration. I hope you enjoyed my post xxx

This post is sponsored by thebar.com

Massive USA Beauty Haul & My Mall Box Service Review

Posted on June 20, 2017

Hi Guys!

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my massive US beauty haul that I shared a little while ago on my stories. Over the past few months I’ve been purchasing LOADS of bits and pieces from various US sites and having them sent to my US PO Box address – and I’ve finally got round to shipping them over here.

I’ll just quickly touch on what I’ve ordered – I’ll have full reviews of everything coming up shortly, but if anything catches your eye please shout and I’ll make it a priority –

Stila Magnificent Metals Duo Chromes – These are the three new iridescent duo chrome finish Magnificent Metal Liquid Eyeshadows from Stila – they’re gorgeous! I bought these quite a while ago now and they’re still not available in the UK, so I’m really glad I picked them up.

Clarins 4-Colour Pen – This is actually available in the UK now, but out of stock unfortunately. This nifty little pen contains three eyeliners and a nude lipliner in a click pen style – it’s such an unusual and fun concept!

A Selection of Korean beauty products from MeMeBox – I picked up a load of weird and wonderful sounding products from MeMeBox, including the above Pony Effect eyeshadow palette and Primer, as well as plenty of masks, including bubble masks and magical foaming beans! And I also grabbed som wine themed makeup (as you do) – I’m actually thinking of starting a Youtube channel and trying these products out on there. I think it could be really fun trying them out live on camera. Let me know if you’d like to see that!

Tarte Shape Tape I’d been wanting to try Tape Shape forever, and though they sell it here at QVC, they never had my shade in stock. I picked up the two lightest shades.

Marc Jacobs Enamored with a Twist Set – This was just a real splurge, honestly I’m such a sucker for pretty packaging! As soon as I saw this limited edition set I knew I had to have it! This is a limited edition colourful makeup bag that contains three lip glosses.

Hanacure Starter Set – I think I originally saw this advertised on Facebook, it sounded like a great facial set, and seemed to have really great reviews.

Like I said, please do let me know if you’d like to hear more about any of these products!

So, let’s take about My Mall Box now…

It was actually about a year ago now that I first reviewed the My Mall Box service – and they’ve made quite a few changes and improvements since then. Just to briefly explain, My Mall Box is essentially a shipping service that allows you to purchase items from the US and have them shipped to the UK – where shipping usually wouldn’t be possible from the companies directly.

When I wrote my last review, there were still a few restrictions with My Mall Box, as certain companies don’t (and still don’t) ship to the UK, or even to PO Boxes in the US. My Mall Box have now overcome this hurdle by offering a service that will buy the item for you, and have it shipped to your dedicated PO Box My Mall Box address, before forwarding on to you in the UK. There is a small fee for this service, but it does allow you to pick up items that would otherwise be unable to get hold of. An example of this is Stila. As soon as I tried their Magnificent Metals I was in love, then when I saw the new Duo Chrome shades I had to have them! They aren’t yet available in the UK and the Stila US site doesn‘t ship to the UK, or to PO Boxes in the US. So I completed the Buy For Me option at My Mall Box, sent them payment and they ordered what I wanted and had it delivered to my own ‘box’ at the My Mall Box warehouse, ready to be sent on to me – easy!

This really is such a handy service to have, and I believe this is the only mailing company that offers it currently (but please tell me if I’m wrong). My Mall Box are also looking into offering some really handy additional services and options – such as discounts and deals for regular customers – they’ve told me they’ll be rolling out their new services throughout the rest of the year, so I look forward to finding out and trialling what they’ll be offering.

At the moment like I said above, you can get MMB to ‘buy for you’, and they also have a page on their site where you can compare their shipping rates and fees to other providers, so you can make sure you’re getting the best deal, as well as a calculator so you can check what shipping options are provided before going ahead and purchasing your items.

You can also split a package into two smaller packages, have multiple items opened and repackaged together (to keep shipping costs down) and there’s a very handy FAQ section on the site that literally covers everything – and you can always email their customer services team who are fantastic at answering questions too.

The only thing I would mention to be aware of is it’s worth making a mental note of the restricted items list before making any purchases. Just like the UK, there are certain problem items that they can’t ship – the things that would affect me personally are items like fragrances and candles. This is just a handy thing to know before you place any orders.

If you’re interested in purchasing products from the US, I’d highly recommend you sign up to MMB. It’s easy to use, convenient and cost effective. You can sign up hereand doing so via this link will also give you a credit to your account.

I’d love to hear if you use mail referring services? I hope you enjoyed my post xxx

This post is sponsored by My Mall Box. All thoughts and opinions are my own.