Friday, 20 October 2017

Reading round-up #5

reading inspiration

I am flying through the pages this year! I’ve really made a point of making time for reading, either by turning off the laptop and/or TV earlier, or picking up my book as tea cooks. It really goes to show that just the odd page here and there soon adds up to fully read books! Let’s have a nosy at my latest reads!

Stardust - Neil Gaiman
Having re-watched the film recently, when I noticed this book on the shelf in the library it felt a little like fate to pick it up and see how the page translated on screen. I was actually really surprised how close the film and book are, that doesn’t happen all that often! The book was as magical as I expected, a fairy tale for adults that they can tell their children. Gaiman has a brilliant ability to drive a story, everything moves at the perfect pace and he ties up all the loose ends and story arcs in the end, a happily ever after with a little less Disney-esq cheese on top.

Something wicked this way comes - Ray Bradbury
I’ve been wanting to pick up some Bradbury for a while now but my local library shelves are less than inspiring when it comes to the sci-fi greats. This was the only Bradbury on the shelf at the time. Not a bad read, a little confusing to follow at times, but a really great run up to Halloween read none the less. 

Daring Greatly - Brenee Brown
Hands down one of the most life changing, thought provoking books I’ve read this year! I actually gave it a whole post here, where you can read exactly why Daring Greatly has given me so much to think about. 

Pebble in the Sky - Issac Asimov
Wanting to continue to expand my exploration into sci-fi, how could I ignore one of the greats themselves? I really want to read his Foundation series but our library doesn’t seem to have the first one! In searching for it, I found this and the premise really intrigued me. A 63 year old man is transported hundreds of year in the future, where Earth has discovered it’s not alone in the universe, in-fact it’s seen as very small and insignificant by the rest of the galaxy. Earth isn’t all that happy about being deemed the lowest level on the evolutionary ladder, oh and once you hit 60, you’re euthanised so that the youngsters can have your share of food and space on an ever crowded planet. There’s also brain experimentation and mind control powers, incase it wasn’t sci-fi enough for you!

Big Magic - Elizabeth Gilbert
If a book could make you fall in love with writing, Big Magic is it. Not only did it give me the writing bug back, but it really taught me what it is that I love about writing so much. Writing as a vocation, not a way to pay the bills, writing for enjoyment and play, not because I have to get a post out. The same theories can be applied for whatever creative outlet you choose. Watch this space because I have a much more in-depth look at what big lessons Big Magic taught me coming soon!

Have you read a book recently that’s really stuck with you long after the last full stop?

Until next time, 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

30 things I've learnt on my 30th Birthday!

30 lessons on your 30th birthday

I’ve been doing these little birthday reflections for a few years now and what I love is how each time, the list seems to change and evolve. Just when you think you’ve learnt all there is left to learn, life surprises you and in just 12 months so much can change - sometimes it’s takes for writing it down to actually realise that.

30 is a big one. If they sell glassware and photo frames with an age on, you know it’s a milestone worth taking note of. If you’d have asked me 10 years ago where I see my 30 year old self, the answer would be nothing like how my life looks right now. For a while, I don’t think I was ok with this. I thought I would have ticked house buying, babies and a dream job off the list. But as you get older, you really do realise that everything happens when it’s supposed to happen and life isn’t one big tick box exercise. Do I regret not having any of those things yet? Hell no! I am beyond in love with my life right now and everything, everyone, it’s filled with. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Without dragging this intro out any further, let’s dive into 30 things I’ve learnt on my 30th birthday!

  1. Find the magic in the everyday
  2. Spend time outside
  3. Sometimes you just have to show up and take part - it's not about winning
  4. Make time for what you love
  5. It’s ok for a job to be just a job
  6. You’re never too old to play
  7. Set an intention for the day/week/month/year 
  8. Spend time with yourself
  9. Explore where you live like a tourist
  10. Take pictures of the people, not the things
  11. Care less about what others think of you
  12. Life’s not all about followers and likes
  13. Take regular breaks from social media
  14. Exercise should be fun, not a chore
  15. Life is not about ticking all the boxes
  16. Experiment in the kitchen
  17. Go with your gut
  18. Perfectionism is a myth
  19. Make time for the people you love
  20. It’s ok to say no
  21. Don’t believe everything you read/see/watch/hear online
  22. You’re never too old to learn something new
  23. Challenge yourself
  24. Put yourself out there
  25. Don’t let anyone tell you how to spend your money/time
  26. Don’t feel guilty for spending your money/time on yourself
  27. Be inspired by others but don’t copy them
  28. Listen
  29. Start your own traditions
  30. Age is just a number

In my twenties I had zero idea about who I was or what I wanted , but now, as I leap into my thirties, well, I’m bloody excited! I know myself, I know what I want, I know what I love and what I don’t love so much, and I’m finally becoming ok with all of the little things I’ve never been that ok about. 

I’ve got a feeling that my thirties are going to be epic.

How do you feel about your next big birthday?

Until next time, 

Monday, 16 October 2017

*Eforea Spa - Liverpool

eforea spa liverpool review

With the hustle and bustle that comes with city centre living, it’s not often the words luxury and spa come to mind. For a spa day, I always think I have to go out into the sticks, an open green space with rolling hills and zero street lights. Can you really find that seclusion and luxury at a city centre spa? 

Eforea Spa, Liverpool, is connected to the Doubletree Hilton Hotel. A luxurious setting in the heart of the city. The moment you step off the street and onto the red carpeted entrance, you know you’re heading into something special. The sounds of the street fall away and already, you’re leaving the chaos of the city behind. 

eforea spa liverpool review

I checked in at the Spa reception, then headed into a side room to grab a hot drink in a oh-so-fancy china mug. With a warming fire on one wall, and super comfy couches and chairs filling the room, I was already beginning to relax. Janet, from the front desk, came in with my complimentary robe, towel and spa slippers, and as soon as I’d finished my brew, she took me down into the spa. 

eforea spa liverpool review

After a quick tour, and an even quicker change, I got myself in that pool so fast you’d have thought my backside was on fire. The pool is located just under street level but you can’t hear a thing except for the water and the soft background music.

eforea spa liverpool review

Every eforea spa package comes with 2 hours use of the thermal suite before your treatments. After a few long, lazy laps in the pool I started with the tranquility pool - a large hot tub with an inbuilt bed filled with muscle pummelling jets.

eforea spa liverpool review

Another few laps in the pool, another detoxifying experience to be had. Between the sauna and the steam room, the sauna was my favourite. I felt every inch of me heat up and relax. Having the whole place to myself, I did a little meditation practice too. The steam room was lovely, but I always find it harder to breathe and less comfortable than a sauna!

eforea spa liverpool review

My 2 hours flew by and I headed to the Transition Room, a pre-treatment waiting area that is like stepping into the warmest of hugs. The lights are dimmed, and the chairs are big, lose yourself between the cushions jobs.

The treatment rooms are similar to the Transition Room in that it’s dimmed and cosy, all dark furnitures and soothing scents.I had a quick chat about my treatments with Maria, my therapist before she popped out to let me get comfortable. 

eforea spa liverpool review

First up, the Elemis deeper than hot stone massage. Baseline stones bathed in Frangipani oils are worked deep into the muscles, relieving tension. I had terribly tight shoulders and this worked a treat. My back felt like it had been switched out and replaced with a whole new spine!

eforea spa liverpool review

After my massage, I had the eforea Signature Essence facial, having spoken about my current skin woes of dry patches and oily outbreaks, the facial was completely tailored to tackle these troublesome areas using all Elemis products. This was one of the most intense and nourishing facials I have ever had. Part of it included a mask and, during the time it took to set, Maria gave me a wonderful head massage, there wasn’t a moment throughout the entire 55 minutes when a part of me wasn’t being worked on!

Floating high up on Cloud 9, I left my treatment room and headed back into the Transition Room to really squeeze every last drop of relaxation out of my day. No book, no phone, just me and my thoughts. It was the perfect escape from the daily grind and a fabulous 3+ hours off grid. 

Can you get that escapist luxury spa experience in the middle of a bustling city? It’s a resounding yes from me. Eforea offers something for everyone, so pick your pleasure and level up your me time

Huge thankyou to Eforea for inviting me to spend the day with them, I had the best pre-30th Birthday pamper imaginable! Stay tuned, my day didn't end there - there's more treats to come!

How do you like your spa days? 

Until next time, 

*This spa day was kindly gifted to me by eforea. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information see my disclaimer policy.

Monday, 9 October 2017

30 things I've done before turning 30!

30 things done before turning 30

Forever and a day ago, I wanted to make one of those 30 things to do before you turn 30 lists, and I think I did but I’ll be damned if I have any idea where that’s gone. I’m in the business of list making and box ticking but my filing needs some work. So, like we always do when we want some ideas, or it’s a C4 extended ad break, I took to the internet. I found a plethora of things to do/see/eat/read/learn/tick off before you’re 30 lists, and from them, I decided to make a list of things I have actually done before turning 30!

  1. Bagged myself a Bachelors degree
  2. And a Masters degree
  3. Moved into my own place
  4. Met the love of my life
  5. Got engaged
  6. Surrounded myself with a few awesome people
  7. Started a hobby (blogging!) and stuck to it!
  8. Went camping (not glamping! I actually pitched a tent!)
  9. Sorted out my savings - and become pretty savvy at it too
  10. Absailed
  11. Travelled - I might not have many stamps in my passport but I have left the UK a fair few times!
  12. Treated myself to something really expensive - several times over
  13. Learned how to cook - I’m no Mary Berry but my go-to meals don’t tend to come out of frozen cardboard boxes anymore!
  14. Looked into my family tree - I didn’t get all that far but it was pretty interesting!
  15. Seen many musicals and stage shows
  16. Lived out my Disney Princess dreams in Walt Disney World
  17. Gotten (almost) over my fear of clowns!
  18. Completed a 30 day challenge - no meat for a month!
  19. Really started to look after myself; mind, body and soul.
  20. Discovered (but not yet mastered) meditation
  21. Spent a day at the spa
  22. Took myself on a date
  23. Challenged myself to step outside of my comfort zone
  24. Lived in the city 
  25. Leant the basics of another language
  26. Read a lot of books
  27. Watched many classic films
  28. Figured out my own personal style - hello skater dresses and boots you beautiful things you.
  29. Kept journals
  30. Become happy in my own skin!

I’ll be honest, part of me semi-dreaded putting this list together when I came up with the idea, I didn't think it would sound interesting or exciting - and maybe it doesn’t to you. But it’s all about me and if the me of today could sit down with the me of 10 years ago and tell her all of these wonderful things that would happen, she would be a much happier, confident 20 year old. 

We live, we learn. I’ve come so far in life but 30 isn’t going to be an over the hill moment for me, it’s going to be the start of a brand new chapter; thirty and flirty and thriving!

Have you got a big birthday coming up? 

Until next time, 

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Disneyland Paris 2017 - The countdown begins...

disneyland paris countdown

If you’ve been around long enough, you’ll know Walt Disney World, Florida, is my second home but with the finance belt tightening and adulting becoming a bit of a priority, those trips are suddenly looking very few and far between. But I refuse to give up on the magic, and having had a close to 15 year gap since my last Disneyland Paris trip, I figured it’s as close to the magic as I might get for a while. With my favourite girls and a deal we couldn’t say no to we got ready to pack our ears and head off for 4 whole days of enchantment and pixie dust. (27 days to go...but who's counting?).

So of course, I have to blog-down to the trip! So how about we start with things I am MOST excited for at Disneyland Paris

Newport Bay Hotel - Of course, we’re staying on property, I don’t think I could do any Disney park any other way! It was a coin toss between Newport Bay and Hotel New York but having never stayed at Newport Bay, I didn’t need to be asked twice to try somewhere new! Situated across the lake near the Disney Village and around 15 minutes away from the park gates, Newport Bay looks friggin gorgeous! Themed around a 1920’s New England mansion, just you wait for all the Cape Cod-esq pictures I’m going to take. Also, as a Disney hotel guest, we’ll get up to two extra magic hours in the parks before the regular guests get in! Hurrah!

Food, glorious food - You know me and my Mickey shaped treats! I can’t wait to see what dining delights Paris has to offer. Most of what I remember about my last trip to DLP was eating in McDonalds, getting food poisoning from at a dinner show and a trip to Planet Hollywood, where after eating chicken nuggets for almost a week, I ordered more chicken nuggets. There are so many places to eat in and out of the parks, from a Ratatouille themed restaurant that shrinks you down to size, to a grab and go at Five Guys. Not to mention all those pastries, macarons, and Hakuna Matata fries! Somebody pass me my stretchy pants!

Happy 25th Birthday - not to me, unfortunately. DLP turned 25 this year and of course, Disney lets no milestone go unnoticed! They’ve decked the parks and characters out in beautiful blue and silver decorations, with a few limited edition meet and greets and obligatory limited edition merchandise to go right along with the celebrations. I can’t confirm it online anywhere but I’m hoping the decor is still up when we arrive!

disneyland paris halloween countdown

Happy Haunting - Even though we arrive just after Halloween, all the decorations are usually still up, giddy ghouls and Mickey pumpkins adorn the Disney Village and parks, as well as the characters donning their spookiest halloween attire! Halloween is one of my favourite times in a Disney park, they just go all out and it’s so cute! We miss the official Halloween Party but there is a special Halloween event going on in the Disney Village which I will most defiantly be donning my witchy earrings for and checking out!

Shopping - With Christmas just around the corner, a park exclusive Pandora line being released and an outlet mall and shopping centre within walking distance, you can bet your bottom euro that I will be doing some serious shopping. Did I mention there’s a Sephora too? Suffice to say, there might be a haul or three on the blog once I get home!

Magic - Because that’s what it’s all about. There’s something about being in a Disney park that for me, is sheer magic. It’s been such a long time since I last visited DLP and there have been so many changes, from rides to restaurants, there’s going to be so much to see and do! I don’t plan on stopping much at all! It’s no Walt Disney World that’s for sure, but it’s still a slice of the magic and I will take that every chance I get!

Have you ever been to Disneyland Paris? Any trips for a long time no tripper?

Until next time,

Monday, 2 October 2017

Brene Brown - Daring Greatly

daring greatly brene brown review

It’s not often I give a book it’s own review, usually saving them for my reading round ups but sometimes a book comes along that not only blows your mind, but as soon as you hit the last page, you fly back to the start to relive the epiphanies you experienced between the pages. 

I first found Brene Brown when one of her Ted talks popped up on my recommended for you, it was about listening to shame. Shame, to me, has always been that red faced, can’t get your words out, embarrassment and begging the world to open up and swallow you. I’ve always run away from shame, why would I knowingly put myself in a position of vulnerability? Am I really that crazy? 

Turns out, it’s not that crazy. Shame and vulnerability are the keys to wholehearted living. Vulnerability is not cowardice, it’s not weakness. Putting yourself out there, your image, your ideas, your work, your words, showing the world how you live your life, that is not weak, that is pure, unfiltered courage. It’s exposure, it’s uncertain, it’s a nerve wracking daily occurrence, but it is brave

But to understand vulnerability, we have to understand shame. We have to understand why we feel shame, where shame comes from and we have to learn how to become shame-resilliant. We have to learn how to take those instances of shame and vulnerability and turn them into little secret weapons against the world. 

Long intro short, I have too much to say about this book so here’s 5 things it’s taught me (or consider this 5 reasons why you should read it!)

  1. Wholehearted living - Ten points on what to cultivate in life, and what to let go of. Example; cultivating play and rest - letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self worth. I could write my own book on how that one point has changed so much of my thinking already. One more? Cultivating self compassion - letting go of perfectionism. Resonating with you yet?
  2. The ‘never enough problem’ - How many times do you tell yourself you are never good enough or never smart enough? How about never certain/safe/sure enough? These answers come so easily to me when faced with something that takes me out of my comfort zone. And they snowball. I see nerves as scarcity, instantly jumping to the conclusion that something won’t come about because I am not enough in some way, when really, I am. I am more than enough, I’m just nervous, I’m just avoiding vulnerability. 
  3. Only heed the words of those in the arena with you - It’s all too easy to take a negative comment on a blog post or a record low number of likes on an Instagram post to heart. Anonymous trolls crawling the internet ready to jump on you for no reason what so ever, to hurl abuse from the safety of a screen whilst you just stand there and take it. Fact is, you don’t have to take it. One of the best things Brene says in this book is, as a creator, you are not the jackass whisperer. These people will try to shame you for the content you have created, the art you have laboured over, and no matter how many times you try to address or appease them, the more attention you draw to it, the louder the trolls can get. These trolls are not in the arena with you, they are not putting themselves out there, they are not putting their ideas, work or words out into the world, they are not being vulnerable. Therefore they deserve no attention, apology or appeasement. They can quite swiftly jog the hell on
  4. Perfectionism is NOT self-improvement - I’ve never considered myself a perfectionist, but a striving one. In any and all areas for as long as I can remember, I have been caught up in the please, perform, perfect cycle. From school into adulthood, it’s all been about wanting to do things right, to be seen to be doing it all so perfectly and I’ve dressed it up as self improvement and the road to happiness. Perfectionism is self destructive. Perfectionism is a shield that we use to protect ourselves from shame, judgement and blame. It does not exist. Perfectionism is unattainable. And I’m going to learn to be OK with that. I’m going to learn that I do not want and/or need to be perfect. I just need to be me. 
  5. Sometimes you just have to show up - How many times have you talked yourself out of a situation, thinking that you aren’t ready enough so there’s no way in hell you’re going to go along with it - you’ll only embarrass yourself anyway? I know I’ve been guilty of doing JUST that. If I’m not going to win, if there’s a chance I won’t get it right, if there’s a chance I could fail, bollocks to putting myself in that situation. Have I been wrong all this time? Yup. Sometimes you’re not suppose to win, you’re not supposed to be perfect, sometimes you’re just supposed to show up, have a go, enjoy yourself and that really is enough

I could go on and on about this book but then you wouldn’t read it for yourself now would you? It’s not a self help book, it’s not self improvement or personal development, it’s understanding. It’s really understanding how shame and vulnerability can actually empower us. It’s about not letting the myths of shame and vulnerability hold us back, it’s about moving forward and living as full a life as possible.

Do yourself a favour.

Until next time, 

Monday, 25 September 2017

Maple & Whiskey - Smells like Disney?

Sniff up, can you smell that? Can you smell the magic? It’s no secret that I would trade several organs and a limb to make Walt Disney World my permanent home, it’s forever been my happiest place on Earth. With no trip coming up over the horizon I’ve got to start getting a little more creative in keeping the magic alive at home. Youtube videos are all well and good, and Neverland knowns I spend more hours watching them than I’m going to openly admit, but videos and images can only invoke so many memories. When it comes to the magic, you don’t just want to see it, you want to smell it too, and here’s were Maple & Whiskey Candle Co comes in!

I’ve stalked Maple & Whiskey on Instagram for I don’t know how long but never actually picked up any of their candles until now. They’re a UK based company, selling through Etsy, that specialises in magical scents from Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. From stores to rides, hotels and infamous sweet treats, if you’ve ever set foot in a Disney theme park you will know that the individual scents all tell a part of the story!

A few months ago they had one of their infamous sample sales. In short they pack up sets of 6 tea lights, each a different scent, for you to get a taste of what the bigger versions of each scent smells like. Out of the 6 sets on offer, I chose 2! Could I really fill my home with the scent of Animal Kingdom Lodges Jambo House? The Main Street Bakery? Bring back the nostalgia of The Writers Stop or imagine I’m flying over Fiji on Soarin? Cross your mouse ears and let’s find out…

Sample Set One

Over Fiji - very fresh, very clean, very clear blue ocean but I’d say it’s more inspired by the scene in the ride than the actual smell. 
Beach Club - I’ve only been over to the Beach Club twice and can I remember how it smells? Nope! But this is a lovely scent, think coconut meets clean linen!
Philharmagic - So this, YES! The scene in the show when the pie comes flying off the table and into your face, that mixed berry pie smell is so so strong. This smells exactly like the Philharmagic pie!
Jambo House - So, here’s a confession for you all. I bought this scent entirely for this one tea light. Jambo House is, hands down, my spiritual home. I think I want to say this does smell like the Lodge but that could just be because I really need it to smell like Jambo House! There is defiantly something there that reminds me of Jambo House but I don’t think it’s quite there. It’s close though!
Poison Apple - Yes. This smells so much like Posion Apple in Disney Springs! It’s such a strong apple scent, there is no denying it
Karamelle K├╝che - Instant head nodding frantically, this smells exactly like the shop in the German Pavillion, it’s pure Werthers Original and even looks like one too!

Sample Set Two

Main Street Bakery - I was expecting it to smell more like cookies, but it comes close to smelling like cinnamon buns which is about as close to the Main Street Bakery scent as you can get. There’s something so sweet in the scent but warm at the same time!
Contemporary - Again, another hotel I’ve not spent a whole lot of time in but this does kind of remind me of the Monorail. It’s a very clean, fresh smell but not as fresh as Beach Club.
Pumpkin Spice Latte - Without question, the most accurate smell out of both boxes and I really want the biggest they have to burn for all of Autumn! I had so many of these a few trips back nd became a total basic convert!
Days of Christmas - I hate to say it, but this is probably the most disappointing one for me! Days of Christmas has a very distinct, warm, cinammon/nutmeg/spice scent going on that just hits you from the moment you walk in and clings to any purchases you make (I swear). But I’m really not getting that with this candle. It certainly has a very subtle hint of the smell I remember but it’s nowhere near as strong enough as I would have expected!
Over Africa -  So I don’t think this reminds me of what it’s suppose to remind me of! For me, I’m picturing a shop near Kilimanjaro Safari’s, but I think it’s supposed to smell like the scene from Soarin. It’s funny how smells can invoke such bizarre and vivid memories! 
Writer’s Stop - It broke my heart when they announced they would be closing the door on the Writers Stop to make way for the big Star Wars land expansion. Part of me hopes it will reappear somewhere but I doubt it. This was one of my favourite places for a little midday downtime in Hollywood Studios, surrounded by books, with a carrot cake cookie in hand. This candle packs a serious nostalgic punch! It smells exactly how I remember The Writers Stop. Curling up as the dark nights set in, a brew, a book, this candle burning on the side? Perfection!

I was worried these candles would be a bit gimmicky but they’re actually really not. The scents, the memories they invoke, I might not be in the magic but it certainly goes a long way in bringing the magic a little more to life at home!

What invokes the strongest memories for you? Visuals or scents?

Until next time, 

Friday, 22 September 2017

Cowshed - Liverpool

I’ve had some really good steaks in my life. Equally, I’ve had some really bad steaks in my life too. It took me years to realise that well done was not actually a good thing, and rare doesn’t mean it’s still mooing on the plate. But hands down, I have had very very few mind blowing steaks…until now. 

Hello Cowshed.

If you head on over to Tripadvisor, the numero uno restaurant in all of Liverpool is Cowshed. Behind a little red door with a tiny unassuming sign down a side street I don’t think I’ve ever stumbled down sober, Cowshed is serving up some serious meat-treats that scousers and visitors alike cannot get enough of - so of course, I had to go and see what all the fuss was about!

cowshed liverpool review

Can I just say, the building is fascinating? Three floors, a central winding staircase and intimate dining spaces make this place feel about as far from the city streets as you can get. The room we sat in could probably hold about 20, which meant it kept pretty quiet and you felt like you were having a very secluded experience. 

But let’s get on with what we came here for shall we? The menu is small, and I love it. I’ve always said, if I was to ever open a restaurant, I would serve only a handful of dishes and serve the well. That’s exactly what Cowshed does. A handfull of starters, sides and desserts, with the stars of the show being their steaks, of which they have around 5, one veggie option and a special too. And that’s it. So many places could learn a thing or two here, honestly, do a few things and do them so well people cannot stop singing their praises and coming back for more. 

cowshed liverpool review

After much deliberation, salivating and mind changing, I finally went for the 8oz rump steak cooked medium/rare. All steaks come with a salad and parmesan garnish, and you can top up with sides separately. The Mr and I decided to split 3 sides between us; fries, garlic mushrooms and waffle and eggs. 

cowshed liverpool review

I don’t even know where to begin with this steak. Cooked to perfection, the knife just slid right through with zero effort. No fat, no gristle, just pure steak in each and every bite. It was just so flavoursome and moorish, I genuinely felt sad that it would come to an end. The fries were fine, the garlic mushrooms super tasty and the waffle and eggs, well, how do you make a great steak egg-cellent? (Sorry/not sorry). Fried eggs to perfection and extra crispy waffles, no more words needed!

cowshed liverpool review

The Mr had the 8oz rib-eye steak which he promptly devoured, pausing long enough for me to grab a quick snap! Suffice to say, our plates went back to the kitchen as clean as they day they came out of the box. Everything was just really friggin good, and I can’t say more than that!

The service was brilliant, the food came out as quick as the drinks, and you really couldn’t argue with the price, especially when you consider what some high end chains/establishments charge for basic beef! 

cowshed liverpool review

There is a reason Cowshed is currently holding onto the number one spot for Liverpool restaurants on Tripadvisor and I think it’s going to hold it with some ease for a while if it keeps putting out steaks as good as the ones we had!

Do you ever check Tripdvisor for your local town to find new places to try?

Until next time, 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

*HelloSkin Shop top to toe pampering!

helloskin shop skincare review

I have been in ultimate self care mode lately, maybe it’s Autumn clipping at my heels, or the fact that I have been taking a huge step back from the online world and having a bit of a Twinings getting me back to me vibe going on, but when HelloSkin Shop offered to send me a top to toe pampering package, it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. 

HelloSkin Shop offers free UK delivery and next day shipping, specialising in eczema psoriasis, acne and dry skin, it’s a one stop shop for all your skin loving needs. Granted I am lucky enough to not be suffering with any skin ailments right now, I am super keen on keeping my skin well moisturised, hydrated and nourished.

My skin loving pamper pack came with 4 fantastic products in for me to try; Westlab Himalayan Salts, Cetaphil skin cleanser, Aveeno daily moisturiser and Relivio daily moisturiser. So of course, I had to run a bath (OH it’s such a hard life).

helloskin shop skincare review

Westlab have been my go-to for bath salts for a while now but the Himalayan Salts are new to me. They’re designed with gloriously glowing skin in mind, and who doesn’t want that? Scent free, I put about half a cup into the bath whilst it’s running and swish the water about a bit. I have found that they don’t totally dissolve straight away and too much makes it feel like your stepping into sand! I find there’s always a bit of bath salt residue left behind once the bath has drained but nothing a quick blast with the shower can’t wash off.  I’ve got to admit, my skin feels so much softer after having these in the bath, and paired with a bath oil? It’s like my old skin has been whipped off and a fresh new, baby soft layer put on. 

helloskin shop skincare review

Before getting out of the bath, I gave my face a wash with the Cetaphil cleanser. Designed specifically for dry skin and eczema suffers, it’s free from fragrance and irritants and is so gentle on the skin. For face and body, it doesn’t lather up much but it left my skin feeling very clean and moisturised. I used this twice a day for two weeks and everything went well but then I started to get whiteheads on my chin and my T-Zone was getting really oily. I switched to using it as my morning cleanser and that helped but once I’d noticed the spots and oil slick I was really turned off continuing with it. I’d say if you’re looking to get some moisture into your skin or have very sensitive skin then this could be great. 

helloskin shop skincare review

Hands down, my favourite goodie in the box was the Aveeno Daily Moisturiser, the creamy oil edition made with sweet almond oil. I find oily body moisturisers to be amazing at keeping the skin soft and hydrated, especially during the summer months when your flashing a little more flesh. This was such a dream to use, all the benefits of an oil in the luxury of a quick drying, no residue leaving behind, cream. The sweet almond smell leaves me wanting to chew on my own arm. I am just one human sized bakewell tart, and I am ok with this. 

helloskin shop skincare review

The Relivio daily moisturiser is just as nice as the Aveeno one except it doesn’t have a scent and is much thinner in consistency - great if your running late and don’t fancy a fight into your tights! Both moisturisers come in a pump action bottle which I love and loathe in equal measure. One pump is the perfect amount per body part, but you lose so much of the product as it gets stuck to the sides and these hard plastic tubs are not scissor friendly! Give me a soft sided squeeze tube any day! 

One thing I love about HelloSkin Shop is their subscribe and save offer! You can get up to 10% off your first two subscribed purchases if you subscribe to purchase the same product again. If you’re a creature of habit this is a great way to save on your favourites. You can specify when they renew your order and deliver too, so you’re guaranteed never to be left without your skincare saviour! 

What are your must haves when it comes to silky smooth skin?

Until next time, 

*Products kindly peovided by HelloSkin Shop. All thoughts and opinions are 110% my own. For more information, see my disclaimer policy here.
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