Tuesday, 23 April 2019

A Spring Beauty Haul

When a new season starts, I always like to treat myself to a few new bits. Whether that's clothes, makeup, homeware, or a little bit of everything, I just get a bit of an urge to shop! Over the last few weeks I've received a few PR bits and I've also picked a few things up myself so I thought it was about time for a little Spring haul.
flatlay - Sunkissed Jelly Tan to the left, Sally Hansen nail polishes in the centre, Soap and Glory face mask bottom right corner, flowery dish top left corner with Ecooking Skincare face cream on top

Sally Hansen Nail Polishes

A few weeks ago we popped to an outlet village for a little coffee date and a bit of shopping and I found a brilliant beauty outlet shop. So many big brands, product after product so of course I picked a few bits up, mainly nail polishes. I've been wanting to try some Sally Hansen polishes for ages but for the usual price of around £10 a bottle in places like Superdrug and Boots, I've just never wanted to take the risk. For that price I'd rather stick with brands I know and trust like Essie. Well I found so many gorgeous shades for £1.99 each! I picked up the shades 'Rose To The Occasion' which is a pastel pink, 'Peach Of Cake' which is a lovely coral shade and 'Hooked On Onxy' which is black, you can never have too many black nail polishes. I also picked up a Salon System Nail Lux Top Coat Polish as I seem to get through them so quickly.
Holding up Sally Hansen Rose To The Occasion Nail Polish. Background of stack of books with copper candle holder on top, eiffel tower statue in front, pink fluffy pillow in left hand side
Flowery dish in the centre with 3 nail polishes on top

Soap and Glory Pore Refine range*

I've been lucky enough to work with Soap and Glory a few times now and each time a parcel arrives, I get so excited. It's still mindblowing I'm one of the many bloggers they work with and it never gets taken for granted. This time the products I received are from the new pore refine range. The range contains a Foam Cleanser which lathers up beautifully with warm water, Blotting Sheets which are great for oily patches of skin and finally a new Sheet Mask, which you know I'm already a big fan of. I can't wait to use each of these more over the next few months, and I've already set aside the face mask for a little bit of self care this weekend.
flatlay - Soap and Glory Pore Refine range, foam cleanser, blotting sheets and face mask. Flowers in bottom left corner

Sunkissed Hydrating Jelly Tan*

Now, I never fake tan. I'm not sure I've ever really dabbled with it even when growing up it was something all the girls were doing, I just never wanted to and to be honest thought it would just be a mess if I tried. With Summer coming up though and the bouts of warm weather we keep having, it would be nice to have a bit more of a tan than I have now so I was thrilled to receive the new Hydrating Jelly Tan £13.99 from Sunkissed. I'd never seen anything like this before but the few times I have used it so far it's left a really lovely colour. I always worry with fake tan I'll end up overdoing it and not knowing what to do but this is just nice and subtle, and really easy to apply with the mitt provided.
Sunkissed Hydrating Jelly Tan in the centre. Pink fluffy pillow in the background on the left side, stack of books to the right with copper candle holder on top

L'oreal Elvive Shampoo & Conditioner

I've said many times before on my blog that I'm not usually fussy when it comes to my hair products. I'm usually fine with whatever is on offer but recently stress has been really affecting my hair which has therefore really affected my confidence and I was in desperate need of something to give it a bit of life back. Does anyone else find when they're stressed their skin and hair suffers? I usually have quite thick hair so for it to feel and look so thin actually really got to me. I wasn't sure what to try but I spotted the L'oreal Elvive Fibrology range for around £2.50 a bottle instead of £4.99, so I grabbed them. I can honestly say after just a few weeks they have made a huge difference. My hair feel thick again, it looks bouncy, it just feels refreshed and back to how it used to be. I think I'll end up sticking with both the shampoo and conditioner now as they really have worked wonders.
L'oreal Elvive Shampoo and Conditioner in the centre. Pink magazine underneath, flower dish in top right corner
So that's a few bits I've been using and trying out over the last few weeks. I've got a few skincare reviews coming up soon so keep an eye out if you're after some new recommendations!

Have you tried any of the products/ranges I've mentioned?

This post contains PR samples. Affiliate links used in this post

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Friday, 19 April 2019

My Perfect Roast Potatoes Recipe*

So, I say this is 'my' perfect roast potatoes recipe but I originally got this recipe from Jamie Oliver a few years ago. It was around Christmas so I was planning everything we needed for the main event and I really wanted the roast potatoes to be amazing, the star of the show, anyone else think they're the best part of a roast dinner? In Jamie Oliver's version he has a few different options for these but this is the one I stick to with just garlic, olive oil and seasoning - I could make them in my sleep! So whilst this may not be a main meal, I really wanted to share how I make these little bits of heaven. They go great with so many dishes and I genuinely plan meals around what we can have with these rather than the other way around!
Closeup of roast potatoes, one on fork
Ingredients: for 2 people
Maris Piper Potatoes, around 500g
3 gloves of garlic
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Mixed Herbs (optional) 

1. Peel your potatoes and chop in either halves or quarters depending on the size of them. Wash the potatoes in cold water to get rid of any starch and then add to a large saucepan. Add cold water and boil for around 10 minutes. 
2. While your potatoes are boiling, pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees and add a good glug of olive oil to a large roasting dish. Pop in the oven for around 5 minutes so the oil can heat up
3. Drain your potatoes after 10 minutes, shake up a little to rough up the edges and then add to the hot oil. It's really important to get the oil hot as this will make the potatoes sizzle and instantly catch the sides. Also sprinkle with salt and pepper
4. Roast for 30 minutes
5. Remove dish from oven, give it a good shake, add in 3 gloves of garlic and then gently squash the potatoes with a potato masher. I then add some extra salt and pepper, a drizzle of oil over the top and sometimes I'll add mixed herbs at this point too.
6. Roast again in the oven for a further 45 minutes.
7. Serve up with whatever you like! Of course they go perfectly as part of a Sunday roast. Roast chicken, stuffing balls, veg, yorkshire puddings, ahh it's just heaven. We have them with all sorts of things though, they go great with gammon, fish, even things like chicken casserole. I could just eat them by themselves though, so moreish and delicious.
Dish full of roast potatoes
- It has to be Maris Piper Potatoes! I've tried so many varieties and nothing works as good as Maris Pipers. They are so soft and fluffy but crisp up beautifully on the outside. 
- Always add in the garlic after 30 minutes, somehow it releases the most delicious flavour in the second bit of cooking but this way it's not overpowering. 
- Don't skip the mashing step! Just a small push down on each potato allows for all of the garlic juices to seep in and add so much flavour.
- For extra flavour, you can add salt from Salt Pans to the top. I was sent the Sea Salt Flower Flakes with Oregano and Pink Peppercorns £6.95* which is ideal for all sorts of things - homemade bread, roast meats, fish, salads, even things like risotto. Just sprinkle a little over the top for an extra salty hit. For more info and to see the other products available, click here.
Jar of sea salt from Salt Pans in the centre, flowers to the left side of it, stack of books in the background to the right
What's your favourite side dish?

*Product provided from Salt Pans

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Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Meet BEAR!

I can't believe I finally get to write this post and introduce you to the newest addition to our little family, BEAR 🐶 He's only been home with us for a few days now but we are so in love with him. We've wanted a dog for such a long time so now it's happened, I couldn't wait to share it all with you! I thought a little post introducing him might be nice and then I'll probably update on him every few months or so.

So, why now?

If you've been a long time reader of my blog or if you follow on me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc, you'll know how much I've been wanting a dog. Both George and I grew up with dogs and we've been hoping to get our own for such a long time. It's one of those things though where everything just has to fall into place. As much as I've literally yearned for a dog since we moved into this flat, it's only over the last year or so things have really been right. We're so happy in our flat now, we have a car, we've had lots of trips away, we're both able to be at home more, it was just important that we had a lot of things sorted before bringing a dog into our family. We wanted it to be right for them and right for us. 

Meet Bear 

So, after looking for months we finally found Bear. We were always intending to get a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel which is what I had when I was younger, just because we knew what to expect, they are of course absolutely beautiful and with us living in a flat, we didn't want anything massive. Unfortunately they are very hard to come by. We did also look into adoption too. I know there's always a massive thing when someone buys a dog rather than adopts but it just wasn't the time for us. I can't even tell you how long I was looking for a dog that we could adopt but because they've already gone through so much, there are lots of restrictions on who can re-home them and with us being in a flat, being first time owners, and a few other things, nothing ever really felt right. And I'd hate more than anything to have adopted and given a dog a home, for it to then not have been the perfect situation for them or us. I'd love love love to adopt in future but for our first dog, we wanted to be 100% sure. So now that's out of the way, because I did feel I had to mention it, we eventually started looking for other breeds and that's where we found Cavapoochons. I'd seen these bundles of fluff online countless times before so when I saw the advertisement, and a few things lined up for us, it just seemed like fate. If you didn't know, a Cavapoochon is a 1/4 Cavalier, 1/4 Bichon Frise and 1/2 Toy Poodle.
There were 6 pups when we went to visit and pretty much instantly we fell in love with Bear, though it was such a tough decision. He was actually called Bailey when we first met him, turns out the mum was obsessed with sniffing alcohol or being near it when she was pregnant so all of the pups were named after different alcoholic drinks! We'd had a few names in mind for both girls and boys just in case but Bear just seemed to fit. We spent ages sat with him, basically just staring and stroking him and it was so hard to leave. He was 3 weeks old when we first saw him, you can see from the photo below how small he was!
We then saw him again at 5 weeks and he had already changed so much. His little curls we're noticeable, his face looked so much older and he had already doubled his weight! He loves his food so he's going to fit in with us incredibly well 😂 
The next time we saw him was when we went to collect him! I'd imagined that moment so many times, and it was just everything. That was last Thursday so he's been here with us for almost a week and he's settled in so well. I just can't believe he's ours! The nights have been a bit up and down, sometimes he cries for ages and wakes up several times and other times he's a bit more calm and sleeps through til around 6, but it's one of those things that will just take time. He loves to play. Each day he seems to have mad half an hours throughout where he's trying to bite everything and running all over and then he'll crash and sleep for at least an hour at a time afterwards. He seems to go into such a deep sleep each time so if he's comfy, there's no moving him!
Aswell as loving his sleep, he's also always after a cuddle. He is like our little shadow. He's always waiting for us to sit down so he can snuggle next to us. He gets himself in all sorts of positions, he especially loves sitting near my neck like a scarf! He's just a bundle of fluff, so soft and warm. His little eyes when he looks at me just make my heart burst.

I'm sure it won't be long until Bear is featured on my blog again but for now if you want to keep up to date and see allllll the cute photos, feel free to follow my Instagram or Bear's. Yes I am that person who has made an account for my dog.
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Thursday, 11 April 2019

Waitress At The Adelphi Theatre London Review

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we saw two musicals when we were in London last week, those being Come From Away and Waitress. I'd been listening to the Waitress cast recording for well over a year and it was a show I was desperate to transfer to the West End so when it was announced, I wasted no time in getting tickets!
Outside of the Adelphi Theatre with Waitress poster
Waitress might not be hugely well known over in the UK just yet but it's about Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker who dreams of a way out of her town and abusive marriage. After finding out she's pregnant and then a satisfying run in with her new doctor, she realises there might be chance for a fresh start after all if she just believes in herself. The musical is actually based on the 2007 film of the same name which was written and directed by Adrienne Shelly and starred Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion. Again, it's not massive over here but it's a lovely film and it's been brought to life by a female-led creative team including Sara Bareilles who I think we all know for hits like Love Song and Brave.
Waitress poster and Waitress review outside the theatre
Having Waitress move into the Adelphi Theatre definitely softened the blow of Kinky Boots leaving earlier in this year and I was so excited to see how the story would come across on stage. Despite having a few reservations about some of the casting choices when they were announced, everyone in the show is outstanding! Katharine McPhee after a successful run on Broadway is our current Jenna and she is out of this world. If there is anyone with a note perfect voice it's her, just crystal clear and a pleasure to listen to. She just seemed to get the character of Jenna, her portrayal was so believable. Marisha Wallace and Laura Baldwin were both hilarious as their characters Becky and Dawn too, the three of the women just go together perfectly. Now onto the men in the show. David Hunter who we saw in Kinky Boots last year is currently playing Dr Pomatter, and I was so happy when this was revealed. There was so much chemistry between him and Katharine and he was incredibly funny throughout. Talking of funny though, one of the stars of the show has to be Jack McBrayer who you might know from 30 Rock and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. He got the biggest laughs throughout and I honestly didn't want his scenes to end, absolutely perfect for the role of Ogie. Special mention to the rest of the cast too who were all just brilliant - Peter Hannah, Shaun Prendergast, Kelly Agbowu, Piers Bate, Nicole Raquel Dennis, Chris McGuigan, Olivia Moore, Charlotte Riby, Michael Hamway, and Mark Willshire.
Now the music! Omg the music. Each song is absolutely perfect. From upbeat songs like Opening Up and When He Sees Me to the funny Never Getting Rid Of Me and Bad Idea, and then the songs that genuinely make you want to just cry She Used To Be Mine and Everything Changes. I have to mention What Baking Can Do though. I've always loved that song but Katharine sang it beautifully, each note just seemed effortless. She really brings something special to each song.

Despite absolutely loving from Come From Away the night before, and wondering a little if Waitress could live up to that, we had such a lovely night and the show was just wonderful. There has been a bit of negative press around the show and how it's unlikely to be in the West End for a long time but I really do hope it has a long life here. The story comes to life beautifully, each song pulls you in and the cast clearly absolutely love being up there each night. It's a show I know I'd go back to again and again if I could!
Photo of pie at Waitress, stage in the background
If you wanted to know, our seats were in the stalls (P13 and P14) and the view was perfect. You don't miss a thing and they're actually not priced too badly so if you're booking a ticket, I couldn't recommend those enough. Also when you're there, you have to treat yourself to a pie! Not cheap at £6 each but it's all part of the experience, and I love the little touches like that they've brought to the theatre. The whole theatre also smells like fresh pie and cinnamon when you walk in too!
photo of the stage at the end of the show
Have you seen Waitress too? Have you got any shows planned?

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