Monday, 30 January 2017

Winter Skincare Routine

winter skincare routine for dry skin

I don’t know about you but since January hit my skin has been a mess. Dry, patchy, tight, sore, hopping out of the freezing cold into centrally heated buildings, hopping back into the cold and so on. My poor face is taking an ice cold battering. So here I am, pumping it full of moisture and showing it some much needed TLC!

winter skincare routine for dry skin

Garnier Oil-Infused Micellar Water

I take the day off with this oily little bad boy. Mostly I just love shaking it up and watching the oil bob around, it reminds me of a lava lamp I had as a kid! This takes off all traces of make-up, including waterproof mascara with little effort. It does leave my skin feeling greasy but I'm going to cleanse next so I don't mind.

The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter

Recommended to me by Amy and Sophie, this has been the ultimate life saver. Though the butter itself kind of feels like I’m coating my face in goose fat, it smells much better than that and after wiping it off with an extra hot cleansing cloth, my skin feels buttery soft. After patting dry it doesn’t pull tight, it just feels fresh and so so soft. I’ve been using it twice a day to really combat the dryness. As soon as things really improve I’ll cut it down to once a day, most likely in the evening.

winter skincare routine for dry skin

Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist

This little beauty was in my Girl Gang Event goodie bag from last year and it’s like spritzing my face with Turkish Delight…and yes, I am happy about that. I can literally feel my skin sucking it up like the plants I forget to water. I don’t pat it in or anything, I just let it do it’s thing, my skin soaks it up so quickly, zero effort on my part required. A face full of spritzing twice a day, no ifs, and's or buts!

winter skincare routine for dry skin

No7 Beautiful Skin Dry Skin Rescue

For day wear, this has been like putting an impenetrable barrier across my face - nothing get’s past this! OK, so it feels like I’m slathering poly filter all over my face but it’s surprisingly not greasy and dries extremely matte. After a couple of minutes it’s totally soaked in and my skin looks and feels super smooth. Usually, overly rich moisturizers cause me to break out but so far (touch wood) this hasn’t been to blame for a single pimple pop. 

MOA Aphrodite Facial Oil

I’ve become a huge convert to facial oils over the last 12 months and this little beauty is a modern day marvel. I’ve been putting a little more MOA Aphrodite Facial Oil than usual on my face, really working it in and letting it have its wondrous ways with my skin. My skin feels super soft in the morning and it’s really helping with balancing out the weather-beaten redness my skin is sporting. 

winter skincare routine for dry skin

Clarins Multi-Active Night

I remember this being one of the first high-end skin care products I ever bought years ago in the Duty-Free at Orlando International. I'd got a 2 for 1 exchange rate on my dollars and the leftovers were burning away in my pocket - oh those were the days! This was recommended to me and I fell in love. It has a silky smooth texture that melts into my skin, always leaving it looking more refreshed and well loved. I've found it's brilliant for dry patches, especially after exfoliating.  

Origins Drink-Up Overnight Intensive Mask

Once a week, usually on a Sunday, I’ll use this instead of my facial oil. I absolutely love what this Origins mask does for my skin, it gives it a full on drowning is totally moisture goodness without causing me any breakouts or overacting my overly active sebaceous glands. 

I’ve found I can go back to wearing my mineral foundation without it flaking like falling snow across my forehead which is a much better look for me. But seriously, roll on spring, because I cannot deal with this constant cold!

How does your skin cope in the winter? Any words of wisdom for me?

Until next time, 


Friday, 27 January 2017

Walt Disney World 2016: Part 6 - Day 5

I’m ashamed to say that for as many years as I’ve been going out on my Pixie Dust pilgrimage I have never visited Kennedy Space Centre. From the moment the Mr and I started talking about his inaugural trip to the magic, he laid down two ground rules; he wanted to go and play golf, and he wanted to visit Kennedy. He would take as many pictures with the Mouse himself as my camera could store as long as he got to do just those two things.

one day at kennedy space center

We woke up extra early to get over the Disneys Swan & Dolphin Hotel where the Kennedy Space Centre tour bus would be picking us up to take us on over. It took just over an hour to get the to the Space Centre, it turned out we had been one of the first stops and stopped at about 3 or 4 hotels along International Drive before we were on our way. The coach was quick and comfy, and the tour guide was fabulous. He talked the whole bus through the Space Centre, gave an itinerary that pretty much allowed you to stop, see everything, enjoy the guided exhibitions and stop for lunch - the food is always important! Part of our package included a guided tour of the Atlantis.

one day at kennedy space center

Once we parked up we headed on in - the first thing that really hits you is the size of the place. It’s tiny compared to a Disney park, hell it’s tiny compared to Disney Springs, maybe just a bit bigger than Typhoon Lagoon - but it is jam packed with amazing things to see and do. We grabbed a quick breakfast muffin (which was better than McDonald's) and went on our first tour of the day. I don’t want to spoil it, but the tour of the Atlantis was amazing. Genuinely, mind blowing, whether you’ve got an interest in space travel or not, you can not be impressed by the sheer size and story behind what you see! 

one day at kennedy space center

The whole day pretty much went by in the same way. I felt like a kid stepping into a museum for the first time, where everything is just fascinating. From the Rocket Garden to the Saturn 5, the launch pads, the building house, everything was just brilliant. There are guided tours of everything that are included in your admission so make sure to check the times and hit a few of these as they are way more informative than the placards next to everything and interesting! 

one day at kennedy space center

We felt like we had the place to ourselves the whole day and even though the Space Centre is small, there was still things we didn’t get to see or do. We hit so many of the must-see exhibits and took plenty of down time, especially over lunch (hello, eating lunch under a Saturn 5?!) and we sat out looking at the launch pads for a while, taking in the oddly calm atmosphere for a place that has seen some seriously intense times, munching on some astronaut food as you do. 

one day at kennedy space center

Hands down, the shuttle launch experience was amazing and way more intense than I was expecting! It’s a simulator but I was literally coming out of my seat which was hilarious! Mum had bowed out of this one but she got to watch our G-force blasted faces from the control room which she loved. 

one day at kennedy space center

The launch control room experience for the Saturn 5 was amazing too. That is the actual control room they used for launches and it’s so eerie! The experience was way more involved, you could have easily thought something was blasting off behind you…but you really need to experience to know what I’m talking about!

The whole day went by in a blur and before we knew it we had to head back to the coach. I genuinely had the best time at the Space Centre, I mean I knew it was going to be good but I didn’t quite imagine it to be as good as it actually was. Even for the few in our group who weren’t really into space, they thoroughly enjoyed the day. It made such a difference not to be squashed against crying kids and over tired adults, to not be throwing ourselves down roller-coasters and running from one fast pass to the next. 

one day at kennedy space center

Is the Space Centre on your itinerary for your next trip?

You can find the rest of the Florida trip report series here!

one day at kennedy space center

Until next time, 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

TeaTourist December Unboxing

teatourist subscription box review

One thing I was adamant I was going to find this year was a good tea subscription box. I tried out Tea Roulette last year (no VariaTea I think) and whilst I liked it, it didn’t really hook me in to keep going. I googled, I searched, I clicked random sponsored links that popped up in my feed and eventually, I found Tea Tourist. So I signed up for their December box and this is what I found…

Tea Tourist is a monthly subscription that sends out six artisan tea tasters, along with tasting notes, ratings cards, brewing instructions and how best to serve each individual tea, e.g with or without milk, or which tea goes best with a slice of cake! 

Each tea is in it’s own individual pouch, and you get enough loose tea for a minimum of four cups per tea. I’ve actually, easily got more than 4 cups out of each one (and have brewed according to instructions!). A fair few can actually be re-used 2-3 times before they loose potency and flavour. The December box was their Christmas themed box and even though I’ve been having at least once tea out of it a day, I’m still working my way through the selection - at £14.95 a month it’s a bit steep for tea, but only works out around 60p per tea, less if you get more than the 4 teas per sample! When you throw in the fact that most of these teas you can’t exactly pick up in the Tesco, you really do feel like you’re getting a treat every time you put the kettle on!

teatourist subscription box review

But enough of the facts, it’s on to the tea!

teatourist subscription box review

Scotch Acorns - Nothing But Tea

This is the perfect dessert tea - the chocolate and vanilla come through so strong, it’s delicious! Super smooth with a hint of whisky and cinnamon. I’ve loved having this in place of a snack later on the evening - it’s a treat in itself!

teatourist subscription box review

Gingerbread Chai - Tugboat Brews

Not only does this make a delightful tea, but the leaves can used to make a fantastic gingerbread latte too! Another one where the vanilla comes through quite strong, I mixed it up with a little almond milk and it was fantastic! Caffeine free and high in antioxidants too!

teatourist subscription box review

Shiraore Green - Momo Cha Fine Teas

This was probably my second favourite in the box. I love me some green tea and this one was so earthy and grassy tasting - and yes, I mean that in a good way! It’s probably one of the nicest green teas I’ve ever had! 

teatourist subscription box review

Citrus Ginger - Lulin Teas

This was probably my least favourite as the first time around I over steeped it and it ended up tasting like Strepsils…which nobody wants to drink! But then the next time I didn’t steep it for long enough and it tasted like nothing! I just can’t seem to get this one right!

teatourist subscription box review

Winter Spice - Chash The Fine Tea Company

This one just smells too good to even brew, I seriously want some sort of potpourri made out of this loose leaf mix because, oh, it just smells that good! It brews up a mighty fine tea too, with an aniseed undertone that really packs a punch! It’s got a really warming, spicy after kick that is perfect after coming in from the cold!

teatourist subscription box review

Marzipan Rooibos - Hoogly Tea

This. This was my favourite in the whole box. It tastes like drinking cake. Let’s go over that again, shall we? It tastes…like drinking CAKE. Just want to make sure you understand that! Cake! It’s so luxe and sweet, it goes down an absolute treat!

As subscription boxes go, I was seriously impressed with this one! A fantastic selection of teas, all of which will be used up eventually! I've discovered some amazing new brands and some teas I would never have ordinarily picked up! What I love most about it is that you get enough tea in each sample to really get a feel for it, a chance to really enjoy it and enough of a sample to decide whether or not to commit to a full size purchase! 

If this post has got your tea-buds tingling then why not give Tea Tourist a try with 30% off your first box! Simply pop in the code SALOCA30 - never say I don't give you anything! 

My January box has already arrived and I can't wait to get stuck it! Someone get that kettle on!

Do you subscribe to any tea subscription services?

Until next time,

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Caudalie Resveratol Lift SPF 20

caudalie resvertrol lift review

Caudalie is one of those brands that I haven’t really dabbled in before but have always heard pretty positive things. When I got the Resveratrol Lift SPF 20 in my Tili box I decided it was well worth looking into. What’s the point in blogging if you don’t try new things?

I’m always on the hunt for a new moisturiser. My trusty Olay Beauty Fluid has done me right for years, but sometimes, you just want a change. This, it turns out, it like the quest for the Holy Grail…there is pretty much something wrong with every moisturiser I try. 

And Caudalie’s Resveratrol Lift was no different.

But let’s not get off on the negatives. The moisturiser is designed to reshape, contour, lift, smooth imperfections and blur out pores and wrinkles. Youthful skin, year round, it’s designed with all skin types in mind and the added SPF is always a bonus in my books. The moisturiser is a liquid to gel formula that feels similar to Benefits Porefessional in texture. It goes on the skin with a wet feeling but dries to an ultra-matte, almost chalky consistency. For oily skin, this is ok. For dry skin, this is a big no

caudalie resvertrol lift review

It’s fine under make-up, with and without a primer but that chalky after-feeling really bugs me. It makes my skin feel extremely taught and has really dried out my t-zone and chin. Bugger. 

I used it daily for almost two weeks, ever the persistent fool and well, the results weren’t good. I tried using Jurliques Rosewater Balancing mist before putting on the Resveratrol in a bid to boost hydration but my skin was too far gone. If anything this might have stopped it from getting worse, but defiantly didn’t fix the problem. 

Dryness aside, I did notice some blurring of the pores on my nose, but nothing better than other products I’ve used. It smells great, which is always a bonus, but that’s the only one I can find with this one. 

caudalie resvertrol lift review

I think if it was summer when my skin is more oily, then this might have been OK. But the weather is too harsh right now, the elements are against my skin, and the central heating is sucking the life out of it. So it’s back to Olay for me.

Older, oiler skin, could benefit from this. Maybe. 

Have you tried anything by Caudalie?

Until next time, 

Monday, 23 January 2017

Tarte: Pretty Paintbox Collection

tarte pretty paintbox review

My make-up collection is what I’d call minimalist. I don’t have a lot, but a lot of what I have, I love and I really like it that way. Back in October on my trip to Florida, I spent more than a small fortune in Sephora and most, of that fortune, went on Tarte.

I’ve been wanting to try the mineral based brand forever but would never commit to the QVC specials - I’m the kind girl who needs to endlessly swatch something before making a purchase and Tarte is ridiculously impossible to get hold of in the UK unless your happy to buy without poking it first!

I’m an all in one kinda girl, a sucker for palettes that come with a little bit of everything, and wanting to try as much as possible, the Tarte Pretty Paint box was impossible to pass up on; 24 eyeshadows, blush, highlighter, shimmer bronzer, matte bronzer, mini Tarte Tarteist mascara, mini lip paint and Rainforest of the Sea So Fine Micro-liner. Pair it up with a foundation and you’ve pretty much got a full face (which, of course, I did!).

tarte pretty paintbox review

Being new to the whole Tarte thing I had big hopes, everything swatches so beautifully in store, but the holiday mood and the bright lights of Sephora could make curry stain on your favourite jumper look good! All of the eyeshadow shades are right up my street, beautiful matte nudes, pearlescent highlights, shimmery muted tones of blues, bronze and plum and some deeper, darker tones for a little depth whatever the look. They’re all extremely wearable, day to night combined, but they do take some building. This, I don’t mind, I’m a go slow and steady kinda girl and I like to build the colour up until it’s just right for me. I find a little goes a longer way with the darker tones and there is little to no fallout from any of the shades!

tarte pretty paintbox review

Top five Tarte shades so far;

van Gogh with it


pearl earring

glitter glue

selfie portrait

Moment is the blush and it’s a beautiful muted pink tone with a slight shimmer. It takes a lot of building up to really pop but sometimes I do prefer the more subtle muted look! It’s a really warm colour that blends beautifully. Authentic is a very pearlescent highlighter that packs a punch, though it’s no Hourglass, it’s a close second favourite of mine right now! Unique is the shimmery bronzer which, given its winter, I’ve hardly touched, I just can’t wear a shimmery bronzer when it’s below zero outside! Provocative is a cry earthy, almost dull bronzer and ok, I’m not exactly selling it like that, but I really like it. If you’re all for the no-make up makeup look kinda thang then this is perfect. It takes a while to build up but it gives just enough of a hint of contouring that even a novice like me can pull it off!

tarte pretty paintbox review

The pop-up compartment houses a mirror which is a decent size if you’re planning to travel with your paint box! The So Fine Micro-Liner is divine. No really. It’s a goddess of a liner - and I’m only just managing to line both my eyes in such a way that I don’t mind leaving the house with it on. It’s jet black, impossible to smudge and lasts all day, looking as fresh as the moment you applied it. It’s so fine that for a beginner like me, it’s ideal for building up thickness (read: confidence). 

Tarteist mascara is… Love. I friggin love it. I love it almost as much as I love their lights, camera lashes, almost, but not quite. It’s a bang-on jet black with a very stiff spooly of stiff little bristles that give a fuller lash look, ideal for evening eyes! 

tarte pretty paintbox review

And finally, the lip paint in obvi is a nuder than nude creamy lip paint that feels super moisturising on the lips, with a very very slight shimmer that catches the light just enough for lips to appear that touch fuller. It has great staying power and very comfortable to wear!

Do I love this box? Yes

Do I love Tarte? Yup

Totally, 110% sold. 

Have you got any Tarte in your collection? What would you recommend?

Until next time, 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

My First Murder Mystery Dinner

at home murder mystery dinner

I feel like I’m ticking things off a bucket list I didn’t know I had this year! This past weekend I experienced my first murder mystery dinner party and it was amazing. It was basically like playing one of my favorite boardgames Cluedo LIVE. But with food. And wine. And vodka. 

Starting off, all attendees were given a character a few weeks ago, giving us plenty of time to put together a sort of costume. Not mandatory, but what’s the point in the whole thing if you don’t at least make a little bit of effort? Let’s just talk about my character…Charles. Yup. Man. Manoca. I can’t say I’ve ever cross dressed before but hey, there’s a first time for everything!

I kept the costume pretty simple; skinny jeans, brogues, a shirt off the Mr. For me, it was all in the make-up. Masculine make-up looks seemed to be pretty hard to come by! Even Pinterest was a struggle looking for ideas. I went with bigger, darker eyebrows, an attempt at contouring in some chiseled cheekbones, and a full on eyeshadow stippled on beard. I confused my taxi driver so much so that he wouldn’t unlock the door and let me in! 

at home murder mystery dinner

Huge kudos’ goes out to our hosts for the evening, my fabulous Jackie and her Mr - I mean A* for effort here. Everything was themed around the night's murder mystery! Long story short, it was 1919 and we were all aboard the HMS Winston - there was a dead dude on the poop deck and we were all suspects. This all felt very Miss Marple! They’d gone the whole hog with theming, from period music to cocktails and food! This is what made it for me! It made it all the more immersive which is what I always thought a murder mystery dinner was all about! 

Period food also included caviar…caviar. Never tried it. Tried it. Never want to try it again. Enough said about that.

at home murder mystery dinner

Then we took our seats, we put our best game faces on, our best accents on, and we murder mysteried the hell out of our dinner! Borsch (which I’ve always wanted to try since Miss Congeniality), vodka, beef bourguignon, wine, cheese, gin, cake. In between each course we took to our scripts - yes, you get a script! Eek this was exciting! Each character get’s their own script to follow, prompts for questions and answers to things your character may get asked. There was evidence to go through too, the whole time scribbling down who done it notes in-between gulps of wine. 

And for the grand finale - the reveal. We uhmend ahhed, made lude jokes, drank some more, before all taking a stab at who we thought was the culprit! I actually thought it was going to be me because of the character notes I had but it turned out to be the Mr’s character who had stabbed the poor dude right in the back! Dun dun duhhhhhhhhh. Prizes were handed out to the correct guesses, the murderer took a forfeit shot of vodka, and the case was officially closed

at home murder mystery dinner

Oh, and my beard paid off, winning me the coveted spot of best dressed. I swear, it took me longer to get ready as a man than it has ever done to get ready as a woman!

As murder mysteries go, and maybe I’m being biased here because it was my first one, but it was brilliant! The dressing up, the themed everything, it all made for such a good atmosphere, we couldn’t stop laughing. I’m dying to know when the next murder mystery will be!

Have you ever attended a murder mystery dinner?

Until next time, 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Tips on how I can save some money!

easy money saving tips

If you’re up to date with my 2017 Goals and Resolutions, you’ll know that one thing I want to do this year is lots of things. As in eating out, travelling, going on adventures but to do any and all of that as well as picking up a few treats along the way, I’m going to need cash. So, I’ve been pinning away, Googling around and reading up and I’ve come up with a couple of what I think are real do-able money saving ideas that will hopefully fund a few adventures here in Wonderland!

The Monthly Deposit. So I found this pin over on Pinterest and it seems unbelievably do-able. The minimum monthly deposit you’ll make is £25, the most £150, giving you a total of £1050 in 12 months. Some months I will defiantly be able to do more, but I’m going to promise myself never to deposit less than is required that month. 

12 weeks = £1000. In addition to the monthly deposit, I want to do a couple of quick savings challenges through the year. It’s around £330 a month that needs to be set aside but if I pick my three months wisely, i.e the ones with the least birthdays or worst weather, it should be do-able, and it’s only three months! That could easily pay for a city break or two plus spends!

35 day challenge. £630 in 35 days, I kind of want to do this one much later in the year and put that extra money aside for Christmas. You simply put £35 to one side on day 1, £34 day 2, £33 day 3 etc until by day 35 you put £1 in the post and BAM £600+ in the bank! 

10% and nothing less. I’ve already started this one and so far so good. I’ve set up an automatic direct debit from my main account into a savings account that on pay day, takes 10% of my wage and puts it to one side. Honestly, this is, hands down the easiest way I’ve found to save money without realising. That 10% is gone before I’ve even laid eyes on it, so automatically I can’t spend it, meaning I’m already learning to live on less £££ and I’ve got more money in the pot to actually play with when holidays and adventures come around.

IF all goes to plan, I could put a minimum of £5000 away in a year. Or at least put that money towards better things, like city breaks, trips to see friends, blog props and a few extra dresses for my collection. Now that I would be quite chuffed with!

Have you got any savings goals this year?

Until next time, 

Monday, 16 January 2017

Fats in Food - Save your drains!

absorb bin review

I don’t know about you but I have never stopped for even a minute to think about what I’m putting down the sink. Call it naive, stupidity, still kinda new to this whole adulting thing, whatever, but I don’t remember a single time when someone told me what not to put down the sink

absorb bin review

Here’s a tow curling fact for you all, the North West of England alone pours 2.9 MILLION STONE of fat down the plughole. 2.9 MILLION STONE. I kinda need to let that sink in for a moment. (Oh, I’m hilarious). Fats, oils, and grease from cooking, each household contributes around 14lbs of it! Most of it comes from frying food, with the average household frying up around 3 times a week. I know we fry around 4-5 times a week, 7+ when I’m in one of my cooking moods. But what does it matter? I mean it’s just a little oil here and there, and I use extra virgin, which is healthy and what not, so, you know, what’s the problem?

United Utilities attends around 53,000 call-outs every year for blocked pipes, plug holes that don’t drain and blockages. But this has nothing to do with the water company, and if you really bugger up your pipes, well, your insurance cover wants nothing to do with you either. Adulting. Who knew?

absorb bin review

So, hello Absorb Bin. This clever little lunchbox looking doohickey soaks up all your fatty kitchen waste in minutes, instantly eliminating the risk of blocked and buggered drains! The simple white plastic design is so sleek, it fits into any sized kitchen effortlessly. I’ve had mine on the counter for a week now and hardly noticed it being there - and my kitchen is tiny. Open the lid and you’re met with a super absorbent corrugated inner tray. As soon as your poor your fats and oils in, they are instantly sucked up. Job done. That’s it. That easy. No chemicals, no mess, no fuss and no more bunged up plug holes. 

absorb bin review

Seeing is believing so I whipped up a batch of my perfect crispy Parmentier potatoes to really test it out. 

  • I use 1 potato per person, washed, peeled and chopped into rough 1cm cubes. 
  • Get a large frying pan on high heat and add 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. 
  • Fry the potatoes on medium - high for around 10 minutes whilst the oven heats up. 
  • Pop the potatoes in a roasting dish, add your flavorings (if any), then cook at around 180 for 45 minutes.

Every 15 minutes or so you’re going to want to take the roasting dish out and toss the potatoes, this stops them sticking to the bottom and ensures a crispy, even cook!

absorb bin review

And of course, all that cooking oil went straight into the Absorb Bin instead of down the drain. It soaked up the oils no bother. I’ve noticed there’s no smell coming from the bin either. Each fat trapper pad lasts around a week depending on how often you’re using it!

Now, competition time! United Utilities want to see your best rostie photo! One where you haven’t chucked the excess fat down the drain! Simply pop your picture up on Instagram with the hashtag #binfat2winthat for your chance to win £100 of supermarket vouchers! Ready, steady, potato!

Which fact shocked you more? The amount of fats and oils we put down the sink or my inability to adult?

Until next time,