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Friday, 25 July 2014

New Buy - Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eye Liner

I have been a fan of Benefit for as long as I can remember. I love the iconic retro design and the effectiveness of their products. Over the years I have used Bad Gal mascara, They're Real mascara, Coralista blush, Rockateur blush and Pore Professional amongst others. So when I went shopping in House of Fraser in Cardiff this week I was tempted by the new They're Real Push-Up Liner, and on a whim I bought it. 

They're Real Push-Up Liner, is a new product out that they are marketing as a lash hugging gel liner.




I find eye liner never lasts very long on me before it smudges, so I was keen to try this as it has a waterproof formulation and it sounded easy to apply. 

I am a big fan of eyeliner, my eyes are dark brown and I feel it emphasises my best feature and makes my eyes look bigger. After all, a gal has to emphasise her best feature, doesn't she?

Firstly you remove the Accuflex tip protector and twist the base of the pen to deliver the liner to the tip. Then you simply draw the line across the lash line. The tip is angled for ease of use and there is an instruction leaflet supplied. It is up to you how thick you draw the line, or if you want to flick the end for a cats eye look.

Using the eyeliner for a natural look

So I had a go. Was it easy to use you may be wondering? A resounding yes from me. I was happy with the look the very first time. It was not messy to use at all, the tip applied exactly the amount needed. For best results I would apply it with a slow and steady hand. It dries quickly but I added a little extra liner to the edge of my eyes for a more pronounced look. If you are wanting a winged look I would suggest practice makes perfect. Check out how to apply it here.



a more exaggerated look



an evening look

It is not a cheap liner, at £18.50, however I do think you get for what you pay for most of the time, and it was certainly a quality product. It seemed to stay in place all day with only a tiny amount of smudging, which is brilliant for me. I removed it with a little bit of effort and baby wipes although they do recommend They're Real strip-down waterproof remover. 

I would recommend wiping the tip after you use the liner and you have the look you wanted, but before recapping. This is because If you do not wipe the pen a small amount of eyeliner clings to the tip and when it dries it can flake. This will ensure you will get a better result when you apply the gel liner the next time.

I think this is a perfect product to add to your holiday shopping list, due to its waterproof and long lasting nature, whether you are drinking cocktails in Miami or clubbing in Manchester you will still look 'da bomb' or in the words of my mother - the bees knees! 

Recommended 4 1/2 stars

Disney Cruise Line

This is a guest post by the very lovely Emma from the blog From Aldi to Harrods. If you have never seen her blog, please check it out as she has brilliant money saving tips on her blog.

I'm a very frugal person, so I'm always looking for the best deal and I don't like parting with my money. However, as we were going to Orlando for 23 days over November and December last year, I decided to add on a 3 day Bahamas cruise with Disney Cruise Line. It wasn't cheap, at over £600 for a deluxe stateroom with a balcony, but it was possibly the best 3 nights of our lives. We loved it so much that we're going on a longer Disney cruise for our honeymoon. We sailed on the Disney Dream.






Disney Cruise Liner photo from Shutterstock

The first thing to remember with a Disney cruise (as with most cruises) is that the price is all inclusive of food, drinks (not alcoholic) and entertainment, but it doesn't include tips. At the moment these are $12 per guest, per day, and considering the service that you're provided with, I doubt you'd want to quibble this. Disney offer exceptional service, and alongside the great food you also get live Broadway style Disney shows each evening, and a cinema - Disney own a lot of the film companies, so when we were sailing both Thor 2 and Frozen were showing on the ship - the same time as the cinemas.

Things to do

The Disney Dream entered service in 2011 and has 1,250 staterooms available. The ship still has a very new feeling to it, and the lobby in particular was stunning and finished to a high standard. There is a wide range of activities available, including the cinema showing the latest Disney releases, 9 hole mini-golf, fitness suite, sport courts, a range of swimming pools and even an adults-only Quiet Cove pool with a pool bar. There is also a large screen on the funnel of the ship, playing Disney films called Funnel Vision.

Alongside all of this, Disney Dream has the AquaDuck, the first water roller coaster at sea. It is a 765-foot long waterslide that goes over the side of the ship and plunges those brave enough to ride into the lazy pool at the end.

In the room

Our stateroom was lovely. Located on deck 8, the air conditioned room had a queen sized bed, a large flatscreen tv playing Disney films on demand, a sofa, desk and vanity area with a hair dryer and postcards, a coffee table/storage unit hybrid, a fridge and wardrobe space for both of us to have separate wardrobes. The bathroom is in two rooms - the toilet and a sink in one, with the shower/tub combo and sink in another. It definitely made getting ready much quicker. The balcony was a fair size, equipped with a small table and two chairs.

Castaway Cay

One of the main reasons for picking a Disney cruise over any other cruise was the stop off at DisneyĆ­s private Island, Castaway Cay (pronounced key). Although other cruise lines are cheaper, we opted for the DCL because of DisneyĆ­s own private island, Castaway Cay. Castaway Cay is exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests where you can enjoy everything from laying on the adults only Serenity Bay to snorkeling. The island hosts beautiful white sandy beaches with clear water, alongside two shops, two beaches (Castaway Family Beach for families and Serenity Bay Beach for adults), 2 water play areas, open air BBQs served by the ship's chefs and some great excursions. It was lovely to go swimming in the clear sea.

Food

Dining choices on the Disney Dream are among the best I have experienced. Each night you can attend a formal meal (although dressing up is not required) with other guests. If you prefer to dine on your own then you can ask at Guest Services. There are three restaurants to choose from, and Disney offer rotational dining,†so each night you will move to the next restaurant with your servers. There are also two adults only restaurants, but these come with a surcharge. If formal dining isn't you thing, or you're just hungry later on, there are plenty of other restaurants to visit, ranging from cheeseburgers to a world cuisine buffet. And if you're still hungry, there's always room service.


Nightlife

There are 11 nightclubs and lounges on Disney Dream, and they each have their own theme. My favourite was "Pink", an adult's only champagne bar. Skyline is also worth a visit, as each night a different city is featured.

Other observations

Being a Disney cruise, there were a lot of children on the ship. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but it seemed that a lot of the parents relax their parenting whilst on the cruise - perhaps because there weren't many places their child(ren) could run off to. We both found that the children were much more unpleasant than we had seen at Disney. You can, of course, skip going past the children's pool to get around the ship, but they were still around at dinner time. The adult's only area of the ship wasn't well policed, and a lot of children were walking through the area.

How to save money

There are plenty of cheaper cruises on the market, so only pick a Disney Cruise if it is something you will enjoy. There are very few savings to be made with Disney Cruise Line, but here are some suggestions:

  • If you have sailed with Disney Cruise Line before, and you book your next cruise whilst on board, you will get a 10% discount.
  • Shop around for different months - if we went on honeymoon straight after our wedding next year, the cruise would be £1,000 more than going a few months after the wedding.
  • You won't get money off (Disney don't allow it), but you can haggle with travel agents to get some onboard credit applied to your room. We booked through Virgin, who originally quoted us over £800. I mentioned how much Disney did the cruise for, and they instantly dropped their price to match Disney.
  • Take your own alcohol on board - we bought some flavoured vodka from Walmart for $0.99 for two measures, and these were great in our room for a late night drink.
  • Don't pay for expensive port parking - Park N  Cruise offer daily parking at half the cost of the port's parking. They offer a free shuttle bus to and from the ship.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Our Visit To The Isle Of Wight

This is a guest post by the lovely Helen from Mummy To The Max Blog. Helen writes about family life in Southampton, activities and experiences with her son Max, a toddler and reviews.

As some of my readers may know my parents now live on the Isle of Wight. I speak to them everyday and see them regularly when they return to the mainland. Recently Maxwell and I decided to visit them.

We travelled on the newly refurbished Red Falcon ferry from the Red Funnel Terminal in Southampton to East Cowes. I loved the new styling of the ferry and hope Red Funnel will update their other 2 ferries to the same standards. The ferry journey takes 1 hour and the time passed very quickly. Maxwell enjoyed watching passing ships and yachts, constantly waving to all of them.

We were met at the ferry terminal by my parents and as the weather was warm we headed to Shanklin to have a game of crazy golf and to watch people on the beach whilst eating yummy ice creams.


We then visited The Garlic Farm at Newchurch. It is free admission and parking and we had an enjoyable time having a free tasting experience ... garlic mayonnaise, chutneys, oils etc. Maxwell loved watching the farm animals and adored the Shetland pony. We made our purchases from the on site shop and headed off to get an early evening meal at the family orientated pub the Fighting Cocks at Arreton. There was plenty on the menu and they really catered well for fussy little ones.
The next day we visited Arreton Barns Craft Village which is the largest centre for arts and crafts on the Isle of Wight. It is also free admission and parking. We watched skilled artisans at work including wood turners, ceramic artists, glass blowers, leather workers, artists and florists. Maxwell was captivated at the large statues of pirates as he absolutely loves pirates. You can visit the Shipwreck Centre at an extra cost.



We then headed to West Cowes where we looked around various shops and had a late lunch at the Mess Canteen. This is well worth a visit as drinks are served out of jam jars and the food is delicious and priced very competitively. There is a little book corner and a tiny child's chair which Maxwell relaxed in. I loved that they catered for children and thought this was a very nice touch.



After a stroll along the waterfront It was then time to return home ... we said our goodbyes and caught the Red Eagle back to Southampton.

We had a most enjoyable time and we are hoping to visit the Isle Of Wight soon.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Quick Banana Trifle From Soreen

Soreen the makers of the original malt loaf have sent me some of this lovely malty loaf to review. Did you know Soreen make other flavour loafs too? The thought of the flavours such as the Chocolate Mega Loaf, Apple and Sultana Loaf and Banana Fruit loaf actually make my mouth water. 

If you check out their website they also have lots of ideas of recipes to make with Soreen, which got me thinking, what could I make to show off the versatility of the banana fruit loaf?

So here is my recipe for banana fruity trifle. I hope you like it!

Soreen Quick Banana Trifle - serves 1

a slice of Soreen banana fruit loaf
1 banana
1 can ready made caramel
a small pot of Elmlea or double cream
a handful of blueberries

Cut up the Soreen into small pieces.
Put the Soreen in the bottom of an individual serving dish.
Add a few blueberries. 
Pour cream over just to cover. 
Place a couple of dessert spoons of caramel in a microwaveable bowl and heat for 20 seconds until it is softened. 
Add sliced bananas.
Spoon caramel over the mixture.
Add some more blueberries.
If you wish top with cream (optional)
Enjoy!


Soreen have also created a video to show how you can make a chocolate Soreen flapjack recipe, why don't you have a look below. 



You can contact Soreen on Facebook and Twitter for competitions, ideas and advice.  What do you think of my banana fruity trifle? Did you realise Soreen comes in different flavours?

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Swarovski Elements From Warren James

Warren James is a company known for their well priced and affordable jewellery. Their motto is "Great jewellery design - just like the brands - but half the price". Since their inception in 1979 this family company has grown to become one of the biggest jewellers in the UK with 135 branches nationwide.

I have to be honest, I have never been in a Warren James store but I think that is about to change. The reason is, I really love the Swarovski Elements sets that you can buy from them. Every girl needs a little glamour in her life and these sets are amazing value for money, perfect as a gift or to treat yourself, and with the Swarovski brand you know you are getting beautiful quality jewellery.



Crystal image courtesy of Shutterstock

I was sent the Gabriella pendant and earring set made of Swarovski elements to review.  Inspired by the Aurora Borealis - the Northern lights, I think you can see why with the play of light and colour.

What I like about this pendant is that although the base crystal is clear, it picks up colour from its surroundings, and the multi-faceted cut adds a healthy dose of sparkle. In some lights it looks gold but in other lights pink or blue. The necklace is on an 18in chain but it also has an extender that adds an extra 2 and a half inches. This feature is useful for those who like a longer pendant or if you wish to adjust the length of the chain depending on the neckline of the top you are wearing.




The earrings again are similar but do not have the small crystals in the bale, also as the pendant they take on the colour of your surroundings or what you are wearing.

Both the earrings and pendant are rhodium plated to keep the whiteness and shine of the metal.



Priced at a bargain £26, this set would be a perfect gift for someone. 

You can follow Warren James on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with special offers, new lines and promotions. Also be sure to follow my blog via email on the right, or social media as I will be giving this jewellery set away next month.

Tell me what do you think of the set above? Have you ever bought from Warren James?

Sunday, 13 July 2014

What's Your Summer Personality?

New Look has created this quiz which determines your summer personality. 


The quiz asks you a series of questions and determines what holiday or festival destinations you should choose based on what you like to do and your personality. So I had a go and here are the results.




The results summed me up well.  So well in fact, that I wondered if New Look could read my mind, after all I went to Los Angeles on holiday last year! Ever since I was a little girl I have been star struck. Films captured my imagination from a very young age. One of my first memories was watching The Wizard of Oz. I really wanted a pair of those ruby slippers.  I was always interested in fashion, even from a young age..... 

Can you imagine how excited I was visiting LA! I was totally star struck. We did the Starline star homes tour, catching glimpses of the houses of all the movie and music stars, Al Pacino, Halle Berry, Madonna, Simon Cowell. We also visited the Hollywood walk of fame with the stars on the boardwalk.

Of course I kept cool in my shorts from New Look. very similar to the ones pictured above, and my sunnies. A girl has to look her best you know, in case you bump into Leonardo... 



Beverly Hills



the balcony where Julia Roberts gets 'rescued' in Pretty Woman



The Hollywood Walk Of Fame




The Viper Room


You can try out the quiz here. Let me know how you get on and if it was as accurate with you as it was with me. New Look approached me to take this quiz with the opportunity of receiving the items featured/ receiving a gift. I am tagging my lovely friend Lucy from It's a London Bird Thing in this post. I wonder what destination and wardrobe she will be matched with....


Thursday, 10 July 2014

Get Summer Ready With Beaverbrooks

Beaverbrooks the jeweller, is celebrating its 95th birthday this year. To mark this occasion they have created some gorgeous summer pieces influenced by the catwalk trends. Importantly they are very realistically priced as well, the majority being silver and gold plated and inlaid with cubic zirconia - giving the look of diamonds without the price!

Many pieces are rose gold plated. I am a big fan of rose gold. The pretty hue adds a warmth to most skin tones and looks fantastic with a summer tan. 





rose gold plated and cubic zirconia flower pendant

The beautiful rose gold plated and cubic zirconia flower pendant above is priced at only £80 and is also available in silver. Transforming any outfit to make a Wow statement, it certainly adds a touch of luxury to any wardrobe.


The cubic zirconia stones add glamour and sparkle to the asymmetrical design and a matching statement ring is available in the same rich tones.

Beaverbrooks also have a range of new catwalk inspired cuffs, in a strictly limited edition run. Only 75 of these exclusive cuffs have been made, and each one has been lovingly designed by an Italian designer exclusively for Beaverbrooks.

As you can see the designs are fluid, wearable but slightly unusually, almost organic in their design. A perfect addition to a special occasion outfit, a cuff like this will certainly make you stand out from the crowd, whether a guest at a wedding, garden party, birthday party or graduation.
This stunning cuff above reminds me of the vines you see in nature and is exquisitely made as you can see. In a warm yellow tone I can imagine wearing this out for a meal or cocktails and would be perfect on holiday whether you are in Dubai or Dublin, Manchester or Miami. 

Ranging in price from £295 to £350 each cuff is also numbered emphasising the exclusivity and attention to detail.

If you prefer silver, or white gold, yellow gold or platinum, Beaverbrooks had beautiful jewellery with a wide range of prices for all pockets. They also have a fabulous selection of luxury watches by brands such as Omega, Tag Heuer, Gucci and my favourite Michael Kors. Delivery is free and with 65 stores nationwide as well as their online shop, this family run business has become a byword for excellent quality, stunning design and welcoming customer service. 



I'm now hoping they will make earrings to match my new pendant. After all a girl cannot have too much jewellery, can she now?

Have you ever shopped in Beaverbrooks? What do you think of these new designs?

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Quiche Lorraine

This recipe for Quiche Lorraine does not contain cream, but contains a high proportion of Gruyere cheese for an authentic and luxury taste. 

Ingredients

1/2 packet of shortcrust pastry
6 rashers bacon
1 onion, diced
3 eggs, beaten
250ml milk
100g Gruyere and 50g cheddar or 150g Cheddar or Gruyere, grated
Pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.

Roll out pastry on a floured surface until it is roughly the size of the quiche tin.
Use the pastry to line the tin, trim edges and press down.
Prick base of quiche with a fork to let the air out when it cooks and to crisp it up.
Cook for 5-10 minutes until pastry is set then remove from oven.
Turn oven down to 190 degrees C.



Fry bacon in a little oil until crispy. 
Remove bacon from pan, cut up into pieces, removing any fat and discard.
Fry onion in fat until softened for 5 minutes.
Break eggs into a bowl, add milk and pepper and whisk with a fork.
Add bacon, onions and cheese.
Pour mixture into case.
Cook in the oven for 35 minutes or until set when knife inserted into the quiche comes out clean.




My rustic quiche. It may not look pretty but it was perfectly delicious

Eat hot or cold. Serve with new potatoes or chips and salad.

Serves 6-8

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Hotter Shoes Blogging Event Cardiff

Recently I was invited to a blogging event run by Hotter Shoes. Hotter Shoes was set up in 1959 and originally designed and sold slippers.... until they had their 'Eureka' moment, they would design shoes with style and comfort combined. Their passion for the business, great customer care and quality footwear has seen their brand go from strength to strength, so I was excited when I visited their Cardiff branch recently.




I was welcomed by Mel the lovely PR lady and treated to some refreshments as we chatted about the brand. Before long we were joined by some of South Wales gorgeous bloggers such as Lorraine from Squeaky Baby blog, and Su from Soosie Wales.

Hotter Shoes unique selling point is their "Comfort Concept" -  shoes that are lightweight in design with breathable leathers and liners, great flexibility and softly cushioned soles full of millions of air bubbles. Many of their shoes also have no internal seams which greatly adds to the 'slipper' effect.

Some facts about Hotter Shoes I didn't know

They are a family company.
They are the biggest shoe company in the UK.
They are authorised to use Gortex in their walking shoes and boots.
Their standard fit is a D to an E fitting but they even go up to an EEE.
They have a UK call centre for customer care.
They have a 100 % happy guarantee

These are some of my top picks below, let me know what you think of the designs.



pretty plimsolls

Hotter are keen to appeal to a younger market than they have previously and you can see this in some of their fashion led designs, like the floral plimsolls above. I can see these being worn by uni students or festival goers as well as trendy mums who love comfort.


super soft shoes

These beautiful shoes would add a touch of class to a summer outfit worn at a wedding, a day at the races or a garden party. How gorgeous is the floral liner on the shoes to the left?


wonderful wedges

I would wear these fabulous wedges out for dinner, and I can see they would be popular for workwear, combining classic style with comfort.


Dawn Shoes £65

I was allowed to pick a pair of shoes to take home, but as you can see it was a very difficult decision as I was spoilt for choice! So what design did I choose in the end?  I picked a pair of navy denim effect wedges with an adjustable strap. It is difficult to find navy wedges and these were super comfortable and easy to wear with jeans or a summer dress for a smarter look. The cushioned sole made it feel like I was walking on air and the rattan look was a modern touch.

At the moment Hotter Shoes have a SALE on so it is a great time to buy. You can find Hotter Shoes on Facebook and Twitter, and following them is a great way to find out about new designs, special offers and sales. Also many thanks to The Boy And Me who organised the outing, it was lovely to meet you too!

* I was given a pair of Hotter Shoes for an honest review

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Sale On Now At T. M. Lewin

Although known for their work wear, T.M. Lewin are not just a company that make stylish office clothes. They make lovely quality clothes for all occasions. This fashion led clothes store also has a sale now on. With 4 mens shirts for £80, 3 womens shirts for £66 and some jackets half price, the sale is certainly worth a look.

Here are my top picks to brighten up your wardrobe for summer.
'Shani' Coral statement jacket was £150 now £75

This coral jacket adds a bright pop of colour to any outfit. The crease resistant material means it always looks smart. A perfect jacket to wear to work, to a wedding or even out for cocktails on a summer night.
'Paula' Summer Blue Knit -  was £40 now £28

This versatile jumper is in a soft cornflower blue colour. I love the lace detail neckline and the cashmere blend material means it is super soft on your skin. A quality item at a great price.

'Pippa' Coral Dress - was £110 now £55

This great shift dress skims your body shape and the lace sleeves add an important touch of detail. A statement necklace and simple earrings would add the important finishing touches.

Have you ever shopped at T. M. Lewin? What do you think of the items I have picked?