Thursday, 31 December 2015

Coat And Jacket Wishlist Winter 2015

Here are some of my favourite coats and jackets for this season. Featuring a mix of trench coats, jackets and warm coats there is something for just about everyone here.

Trench Coats
1. This trench coat by Morgan has cuff tabs, a button back flap, and contrasting leather look piping. With a little bit of an edge this trench coat is a great classic every woman should have in her wardrobe. Also available in navy and black as well as beige it is easy to keep clean being machine washable too.

2. This Michael Kors trench has big bold silver looking buttons, a shirt style collar and a wide belt to nip in your waist. Also available in Khaki as well, this coat is super smart and great for work or evening wear.

3. If you love bold colours this Yumi double breasted coat is in a royal blue with contrasting piping. Perfect for wearing over jeans on a shopping trip, this coat is machine washable too for ease of wear.

Jackets

1. I really need this Barbour Viper International jacket in my life. Perfect for Winter strolls on the beach, this jacket has a red fleece lining, funnel neck and zip and popper fastening.

2. This Phase Eight Reagan puffer jacket will keep you warm all Winter. With stretchy cuff guards and zip up diagonal pockets, puffer jackets have never looked so cool.

3. This Superdry riding jacket is in a longer length and made of a wool rich material. With a full inner lining, reversible shoulder epaulettes and a turn up collar with denim panel, it's all in the detail with this stylish riding coat. 

Warm Coats


1. This vintage inspired wool coat by Kaliko in black has a contrast faux fur collar and double breasted design.  A little bit of old school glamour to keep you warm.

2. This funnel neck design of this Pied A Terre wool mix coat will keep out the cold. I love the simple tie waist, vibrant cobalt blue and elegant design. I think I have found a new favourite brand.

3. How gorgeous is this Ted Baker wool blend skirt coat with wide lapels, and a wide belt? The colour is different too, I would describe it as a moss green.

Let me know what you think of my choices dear readers. 

From a selection of Trench Coats, jackets and warm coats from House Of Fraser.

* In conjunction with House Of Fraser 
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Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Have You Thought About A Digital Detox?

Do you remember time B.C - Before Computers, or B.S.P - Before Smart Phones. The world was a simpler place. You actually spoke to your family for once.

You went out for a meal and didn't take a photo of your dinner to share on social media. You went to the pub and didn't check your phone every 20 minutes for an email or tweet. Your friends were friends you had met, not virtual friends that you may never meet.



Copyright: nito Shutterstock

Yes computers and the Internet are essential for living in today's world and many people who have lost touch with each other have found each other again online, making new friendships too. In fact the Internet has changed the world, how we do business and how we form and maintain friendships in general, yet with an increase in online communication and online relationships can come a decrease in face-to-face communication and the time you spend on real life relationships.

Look around any pub, cafe or restaurant. How many people are checking their phones? How many families are on their own individual technology - Ipad, Kindle, smart phone and are sat not speaking? Maybe your family is one of them. Now I'm not insinuating Facebook is the devil or Instagram is the root of all evil but sites like this can be addictive. There is often a positive reinforcement involved with checking in and posting on these sites. Something as simple as a like or comment can make you smile and validate your post. Before you know it you have lost track of time. 

A digital detox once in a while can make you realise that the amount of time you are spending online, on your phone, your tablets, can be excessive.

Simple Steps

1. Pick a day which is easy for you to do this.  Saturday and Sunday maybe easier if you work in the week, alternatively a day when you are really busy as opposed to a day when you have all the time in the world which you would have spent online.
2. Prepare the day before . Do what you need to do online such as pay bills, message friends, online shopping and the like.
3. Put the computer and all other devices away. Yes you may need your phone but stop the push notifications from your social media apps and your email.
4. Plan what you are doing in advance. Meet up with friends, read that book you have been putting off, go for a long walk, take up that new hobby you have been meaning to try. Keeping busy will help you on your first detox day.
5. Enjoy time spent with your friends and family and enjoy your own company - it's very underrated!
6. Repeat frequently as you see the benefits. 

You never know as well as finding time you never realised you had, it may strengthen the bonds with loved ones and you may actually enjoy it.

Tell me - do you think you could do a digital detox? Are you addicted to technology or social media?

* PR collaboration
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Friday, 25 December 2015

Kitchen Trotter Food Box Review

Kitchen Trotter is a new monthly food box that gives you 5-6 ingredients per box and recipe inspiration with a little cookbook. 

The kit I received to review was themed as an Indonesian kit, each kit will be different and would be themed around a country and a cuisine. The idea is a culinary trip around the world.


In my kit came the following ingredients:-

Gado Gado Mix - a peanut base mix
Kecap Manis - a sweet and slightly thick soy sauce 
Terasi - a fermented prawn paste
Combava leaves - a leaf with a citrus fruit aroma
Lemon Grass Powder - which has a very characteristic taste
Pandan aroma - a plant based substance with a vibrant green colour
Kemiri nuts - which look like hazelnuts but have a different taste


There is an hourglass in the kit you order as well but I didn't receive one. The idea of the food boxes is that it gives you the specialist ethnic ingredients to which you add fresh produce. Now I really like this idea. I live in a small town and I could never find these ingredients in the one small supermarket here. To receive ALL the specialist ingredients in one box really is a lifesaver, no hunting around for the one illusive ingredient you can never find.

The booklet that came with the ingredients was interesting to read. At the beginning was a section 'Welcome to Indonesia', with some fun facts about the country and also some local vocabulary. Did you know that badminton is one of the most popular sports in Indonesia? Then there is a section about the chef that concocted the recipes and a list of the specialist ingredients. You do have to buy fresh produce for the recipes so a shopping list in included. Then the rest of the booklet is the recipes - Gado-Gado, Mie Goreng, Ayam Areh, and Kue Dadar Gulung. 
As you can see I guess you have to be a little adventurous to try these dishes, and I have never tried any of these before, but they were all either vegetarian, chicken based or had prawn paste in and were basically salad, stir-fry, a chicken dish in a coconut and garlic sauce and a coconut crepe. If you do not like coconut this isn't the box for you!


Mie Goreng

The plate of food I cooked Mie Goreng was tasty and we both enjoyed it. It had brown sugar in the recipe and I was concerned it would be too sweet but it wasn't. You make an omelette as part of the dish and  I wouldn't have thought of adding an omelette to a stir fry type dish but this is a classic Indonesian dish and it does work. I have to admit, I did adapt it slightly for my husband by adding a little chilli, which I thought added to the flavour. This wasn't strictly correct for the dish, but still that's the beauty of a box you cook at home, you can adapt it to suit your needs.

Some constructive criticism  - the instructions could be clearer.  For example the recipe I tried Mie Goreng had no mention of carrots in the ingredients but when you turned the next page, it said to add carrots.

Also the ingredients were in French and they didn't exactly match up - I had to Google what they were to be on the safe side. For example the lemon grass powder was called Citronelle powder. There are photos of the ingredients from the box at the beginning of the booklet with descriptions, I would suggest these are bigger so you can match the product to the ingredient as these would not be familiar products to some people.

All in all I think this food box would be an interesting box for those that are foodies, adventurous but still need some recipe inspiration. The convenience of having all these specialist ingredients delivered to your door is the major plus point. The recipe booklet has interesting information at the beginning about the country and cuisine and it is useful to have the recipes all in one place.

The company are just starting in the UK so if you sign up to their website, you will be one of the first to find out about their food boxes.

Tell me would you try Kitchen Trotter?
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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Win a £100 ASOS Gift Card With Bargain Fox - Ends 19/01

ASOS have great fashion credentials. In fact it is one of the first fashion shops I can remember ordering online with many years ago. It's name originally was As Seen On Screen with the idea being that you could buy fashion as seen in films and TV. The website has evolved over time and now ASOS is the UK's largest independent fashion retailer selling fashion for men and women as well as beauty and gifts.

With Christmas fast approaching I thought I would pick out some of my favourite items from ASOS this festive season. 

Party Dresses


Little Mistress fit and flare dress, City Goddess scalloped dress, Michelle Keegan Loves Lipsy dress

This Little Mistress fit and flare dress with embellished mesh insert is a gorgeous colour, and priced at only £24 a real bargain. The loose skirt hides all the lumps and bumps , and you would feel like a princess in this dress.

The City Goddess scalloped dress has a textured semi sheer mesh overlay is in a close fit bodycon style. When you want to show off your figure without too much flesh on show, this is the perfect dress priced at £28.

The Michelle Keegan Loves Lipsy dress is made of a beautiful blue lace in an asymmetric cut. Sexy but demure too, this lovely dress is priced at only £45.

Coats And Jackets


ASOS red retro 60's coat, Oasis military trenchcoat, Mango real leather jacket


The ASOS red retro coat has a 60's styling and is made of a heavyweight wool material. A warm and cosy coat in a bold bright colour this is one lovely coat to keep the Winter chill out. Priced at £85.

With this Oasis military trenchcoat, priced at £130, it's all in the detail. In a great camel colour with a silky feel lining, stand up colour, and epaulettes, the military look has never been so smart.

The Mango leather jacket in a slim cut, is fully lined and exudes the cool biker look. Jump aboard a bike and rev up the engine as you will be sure to turn heads in this real leather jacket, priced at £119.99.


Today I have a competition for my readers. To win a £100 gift card from ASOS just enter the competition below through the Gleam application. Winner is picked at random and as they say "You Have To Be In It To Win It!". 

Although it's not a condition of entry if you do enter please tell me on my blog below what you would spend the voucher on if you won.

This competition is brought to you by Bargainfox.co.uk. They have super vouchers and offer codes on their website to save you money, check out their ASOS offer code for extra savings here. If you love entering competitions, check out my other competitions running too. Good luck amigos!

Win £ 100 ASOS Gift Card

Terms and Conditions
You must be 18 or over to enter.
Open to entrants in the UK only.
This giveaway is sponsored by BargainFox.
1 winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
Please allow up to 28 days for delivery
The winner will receive £100 ASOS gift card with the prize fulfilled by BargainFox.
Closing date for the giveaway is 19/01/2016.

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Beautiful Birthstones With Global Gem TV

The way in which we shop has changed in the last 10 years. Shopping channels and the Internet have revolutionised shopping. We can shop from the comfort of our home, easily and securely - all we need is a debit or credit card, a phone or computer, and then we just press a few buttons, or make a few clicks. Before you know it, everything is delivered to our homes effortlessly without all the hassle of going to a major town or city.


Buying jewellery from a shopping channel is very convenient. There is no pressure, no sales person standing next to you encouraging you to buy, you make your own decisions, the jewellery is always shown close up in detail and you can even see it tried on by other people. 

Recently a new shopping channel has emerged from the US, one that allows you to buy classic and statement jewellery pieces - Global Gem TV.  




Global Gem TV is a brand new LIVE shopping channel broadcast from Hollywood. What is special about Global Gem TV is that the team is knowledgeable, informative and experienced in buying and selling jewellery. Their precious metal and gemstone experts source the best jewellery worldwide at very competitive prices.  Even the presenters are jewellery professionals with qualifications from the Gemological Institute of America.

At Global Gem TV, you can also see the passion they have for their gemstones and the beautiful birthstones that they sell. Birthstones are gemstones associated with the month in which you are born. My personal favourite birthstones are tanzanite, amethyst and diamond and I have picked some stunning pieces to show you below from Global Gem TV.

Tanzanite




1.91cttw Tanzanite 0.91cttw Diamonds 14KT White Gold Bangle. 

Tanzanite, the birthstone of December, is known for its vivid blue colour. The delicate simplicity of this tanzanite bracelet set in 14KT white gold is just beautiful. Three tanzanite stones surrounded by diamonds adorn this gorgeous modern bangle. Fabulous darling!

Amethyst

9.60ct Amethyst 1.10cttw Diamonds 14KT Yellow Ring

Amethyst, the birthstone of February is an elegant purple stone. A symbol of protection this gorgeous amethyst ring has a beautiful yellow gold setting studded with diamonds. Reminiscent of early 20th century jewellery I can imagine this ring being worn at all the high society parties of the time.


Diamond


1.94cttw Diamonds 14KT White Gold Bangle 


Diamond the birthstone of April, is considered the most precious gemstone in the world. The gorgeous white and rose gold bangle has a swirl design and is diamond set to make a sexy sparkling stunner of a bangle. I can imagine this vintage-looking piece being worn on the red carpet by a Hollywood A-lister. 

If you want to find out more about your birthstone, check out the infographic below on the meanings and mythology behind the gorgeous gems we call birthstones.



Global Gem TV is broadcast every Monday and Wednesday 6-11pm PST (Pacific Standard Time) and you can also order online too. Shipping is worldwide and if you are not totally delighted there is a 14 day money back guarantee, just return your item in the same new condition that you received it.

So tell me, what do you think of the jewellery from Global Gem TV? Which gemstone is your birthstone?

 * A sponsored post, all words and opinions are my own
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Monday, 21 December 2015

Perfect Party Puds For New Year - Win A Retro Biscuit Tin Ends 29/12

Christmas is just days away and while I’m sure many of you will be busy with your last minute preparations for the big day, I’m looking ahead to the New Year.

Today I’m teaming up with NuCasa to give away a gorgeous vintage style Typhoon biscuit tin to one lucky reader, but first I want to share a few ideas for New Year’s Eve party puds with you...

Macarons


If you’ve got a fair amount of time on your hands to prepare this New Year’s eve and you’re somewhat of a dab-hand in the kitchen, macarons are definitely the way to go.


Choose your flavours and colours (these don’t have to match!) to go with any New Year’s Eve Party theme and these yummy little numbers are sure to impress your guests.

Cupcakes


If you’re not such a technically gifted baker but still want that individual wow factor, why not opt for decorated cupcakes?

Cupcake recipes are abundant and varied in their flavourings and they’re super quick and easy to whip up in large batches. You don’t even need to be an artistic genius for the decorations... for New Year why not just do a cupcake countdown to midnight?

Meringue


Whether you choose to go tray bake or individual, meringue is quick and easy to whip up (if you have an electric whisk!) and is sure to go down a treat with your party guests.

Top with fruit and drizzle with chocolate, syrup, nuts, cream or whatever tickles your fancy and you’re good to go to see in 2016 with a sweet, light, meringue filled smile!

Cake


For those that like the wow factor, but maybe lack the baking prowess they dream of, a simple sponge cake can do more that you think. There are plenty of pre-mixes out there to give you a helping hand if you need it too. Knock up a quick sponge or chocolate cake and go wild with the decoration to make a centrepiece cake showstopper that Mary Berry herself would be proud of.


The lovely folks at NuCasa, retailers of retro kitchen accessories and funky home decor, have got one of their gorgeous vintage style Typhoon storage tins to giveaway today on my blog. This smart storage tin is perfect for storing, macarons, cupcakes or homemade biscuits. If you buy them ready made (like most of us) I won't even tell a soul!

To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is fill in the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the steps for entry. This prize is open to the UK only and all terms and conditions are within the widget, so please make sure you read them and understand the rules. Also keep checking my competition page here for all the latest prizes and if you entered please say hi!

Good Luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

More competitions at www.theprizefinder.com 
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Saturday, 19 December 2015

My Top Three Bucket List Ideas

These are my top bucket list ideas for a once in a lifetime experience.

Fly Over The Grand Canyon

The Grand Caynon
Copyright: sumikophoto Shutterstock

A survey of 2000 Britons by the National Lottery in 2014 placed seeing the Grand Canyon in the top 5 of all bucket list experiences. I was lucky enough to visit Vegas in the summer and during my time there we went on a helicopter tour of The Grand Canyon run by Sundance HelicoptersAs we were only staying in Vegas for three days, we wanted to see The Grand Canyon in the most time efficient way possible so decided on a helicopter tour. 

A stretch limo picked us up at the hotel which was a lovely touch and with only a short transfer to the helicopter base at Mccarran Airport we were there in no time. After checking you in and weighing you (no one can see this) for weight distribution you are on your way. Pete, the helicopter pilot was very professional throughout, and after we strapped ourselves in, put on our headphones for the narration and protection from the noise, we were off!
The Hoover Dam, Lake Mead And The Grand Canyon From Helicopter

I am a bit of a nervous flier but the trip was smooth as anything and before long I was enjoying the view. To see the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and The Grand Canyon from above was fantastic. Pete gave us a guided tour of the area we were flying over as we headed to our touchdown point. Did you know that the Hoover Dam is 726 feet high, 1244 feet long and provides water for an estimated 18 million people?

Sitting under the shaded canopy admiring the view it was amazing to think what nature had created. We had 30 minutes to explore before our picnic lunch was served, a selection of sandwiches, salad, and dessert with a glass of bubbly. The scenery was breathtaking. Apparently, there are 70 species of mammals, 250 species of birds and 25 types of reptiles here.


We Had Time To Explore Our Surroundings Before A Picnic

After taking some photos, it was time to board our helicopter again. On our return, we flew over the Las Vegas Strip. To see the iconic hotels from the air was awe inspiring. I would definitely recommend a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. You will not be disappointed with the experience.



We Flew Over The Las Vegas Strip On Our Return

See The Northern Lights


The Northern Lights
Copyright: SurangaSL Shutterstock

Of all the top bucket list experiences in the world seeing the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis) is high on most people's lists. The carnival of lights dancing along the skyline is once seen, never forgotten. The lights are collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth's atmosphere. 

There are a number of countries in the world to see the Northern Lights. In fact, you can see them in Scotland in the Winter on a cold and clear night. However I've always wanted to go to Iceland, so this is where I will be going one day. It's best to find a place with little light pollution to get the best view possible. Iceland also appeals with its diverse geology. I'd love to snowmobile on glaciers, tour the Golden Circle and sit in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon.



The Blue Lagoon


Visit The Temples in Japan 




Kinkaku-ji The Golden Pavilion In Kyoto

Copyright: BigGabig Shutterstock



Japan has appealed to me for a long time. The different culture, high-tech shopping, and modern cities are a huge appeal, but it is also a place of tradition and contrast with its castles, temples, and shrines. To get the best out of visiting Japan, I would take a tour with a Japanese speaking guide, to take in the major sites such as Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Kyoto, the heart of traditional Japan.

The Kyoto area alone has over 2000 temples many of which are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites and national treasures. The gorgeous ornate designs are just beautiful and to find out about these unique structures from the Shinto and Buddhist religions would be intriguing. To visit when the cherry blossom is on the trees or in the Autumn with the gorgeous colours in the countryside would be a dream come true.





Byodo-In Temple In Kyoto

Copyright: Luciano Mortula Shutterstock

So these are my top three bucket list experiences. Would you love to take a helicopter trip over the Grand Canyon like I did or what about a trip to Iceland to see the Northern Lights, or is Japan and its temples your idea bucket list destination. Where do you want to go?

You can read more about my travel bucket list here.


* PR collaboration


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Thursday, 17 December 2015

Ever Us - A Ring For Your Best Friend And True Love

I'm a romantic at heart. I always have been and I always will be. Being in love is at the centre of what being a romantic is all about. It's the best feeling in the world. Every person who has ever been in love can identify with this. It could be a feeling of love that grows over time, starting with friendship and turning into true love or it could be that heart thumping. magnetic love at first sight that happens once in a lifetime. 


Copyright A Stock-Studio Shutterstock

Love means many things to many people. It means you fit together like two parts of a jigsaw. It also means you care for that person unconditionally. Yes you may not like their actions sometimes but you still love them. You commit to them, invest in them, spend time with them. 

To me it's the little things you do to make them happy that show you care. You search all the stores far and wide for that perfect gift because they will love it, you buy their favourite blu-ray although you really hate it because it will make them smile, and you bring them a cup of tea in bed, with their favourite biscuits... just because.

You feel lucky to be with them, to know them, to love them. 

The best relationships also have a strong friendship at the core. You try not to take each other for granted, and take into consideration their feelings. You go along to support them in their favourite sport when you've no interest in it, something I always find myself doing with my husband. You listen to them when they need to talk, really listen and you are nice to them. Yes I know being nice can be thought of as an old fashioned concept but being nice, saying they look good, smell nice, and that they have done well in work is very underrated in my opinion.

Love and friendship isn't always perfect. Both can be hard work on times, but love and friendship is always one hundred per cent worth it.

Showing you love that person can be as simple as giving them a hug, a kiss, being there for them when they need you. However at other times only a grand gesture will do to show them that they mean the world to you. A grand gesture like an Ever Us diamond ring.



The Ever Us diamond ring is made of two sparkling diamonds - one symbolising your best friend and one symbolising your true love - both sitting next to each other, both representing that one person you love.




With the Ever Us logo engraved in the shank to remind you of the meaning, this pretty white gold ring has diamond enrobed shoulders, holding the two brilliant cut precious diamonds in place. 

The ring is a beautiful gift to show how much you care. It can be for any occasion - birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas. It is the perfect commitment ring.  A special ring to show the bond you have with your true love and your best friend, whether you have been together two years or twenty years, or even if you are celebrating 50 years of wedded bliss.

If you want that special ring for that special woman in your life the Ever Us ring is that perfect heartfelt gift.

Available from selected stockists in the UK and the US.

* a sponsored post, all words and opinions are my own
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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The Francis Hotel, Bath - Review

Recently my husband and I went to Bath to visit the Christmas market and soak up the atmosphere. Bath is one of my favourite cities ever. The mix of history, gorgeous architecture and shopping makes it, in my opinion, a great city to visit.

My husband knows how I love Christmas markets. Last year we went to Berlin and the year before Prague but this year we decided to stay close to home as we have a couple of big holidays next year, and to be honest we couldn't afford a short European break and the spending money that goes with it. So Bath it was, and I wasn't disappointed. 


Bath Abbey

I thought we were just going for the day but he surprised me with an overnight stay at The Francis Hotel, right in the centre of Bath.

We got to the hotel around 10am. We knew we couldn't check in yet but as the Christmas market gets very busy we thought we would get there as soon as it opens. 

When we arrived at the hotel we didn't know where to park but as we stopped outside the concierge, an older gentleman, came out and was most helpful. He said that we could unload here, as it was a Sunday and although he thought there was no parking space available yet he would double check to see. As we unloaded he tagged our bags and I went to see if I could fill in the registration details at reception. As I was doing so the concierge pointed out that a space had become available in the car park and my husband went to park. What great service! 
Copyright The Francis Hotel

The hotel certainly has the WOW factor. The reception area is small but really lovely and you can see into the two lounges. On their website they say it is "Regency Rediscovered" and I can see why. This grade 1 listed building which originally opened as a hotel in 1858 has undergone many transformations, especially after being bombed in World War 2. In 2012 after a 6 million pound renovation project it changed into The Francis Hotel. Seven of the original townhouses have now made it into a luxury boutique hotel which is both modern yet traditional in its style and service. 



Walls are traditional regency colours but also mixed with stunning wallpaper adorned with birds and silhouettes. 



The room wasn't ready so they took our details and stored our luggage for later.

We then headed straight out for the Christmas market a five minute walk away where we enjoyed the atmosphere and later in the afternoon had a cheeky glass of mulled wine from one of the stalls. The Christmas market was very busy as it was a Sunday. I would recommend visiting on a day in the week if you could. Bath has some great shops so we also did some shopping and had lunch before heading back to the hotel for 2pm.

When we returned our room was ready.


The room was a decent size, not big but perfectly formed. The room was very stylish in the Regency style but with modern facilities such as a coffee maker, flat screen tv and fridge with fresh milk. How often do you see that in a hotel these days?

The bathroom was decorated in black and white with a feature wall of a scene from the Roman Baths just down the road.





The bed was very comfy but it was the finishing touches impressed me, like the gorgeous antique style phone the ornate gilt mirror and the painting on the ceiling - yes you heard that correctly! You could look up in bed and admire a country view.
It's the little touches that make this a cool hotel like the painting on the ceiling, the ornate mirror and antique style phone

Later that night we had a drink in one of the two lounges below.


Again, beautifully designed, the lounge was very relaxing and stylish. You can have afternoon tea in the lounge and I can imagine it would be lovely. My husband decided on a cocktail and I had a coffee  Prices were on the steep side but we enjoyed them, the cocktail especially was well made. We then headed off to Brasserie Blanc next door for our dinner that night.


Stunning wallpaper adorn the walls

The next morning breakfast was served in the John Wood room. The selection of food was wide and varied, pastries, fresh fruit, cereals, yoghurts, fresh juice ( not concentrate), smoothies and much more. A menu gave you a choice of cooked to order food included in the price and you could choose from about 10 offerings including porridge, pancakes and bacon, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, omelettes and a full cooked breakfast. Everything was excellent quality and they use locally sourced food wherever possible. Staff were cheerful and helpful. We were impressed. 

Would I stay here again? It is not a perfect hotel - the lift for example is small and the reception area takes a while to deal with the people checking out and checking in.  It also doesn't have a gym or spa for example BUT....I have stayed in hotels all around the world and there was something charming about this hotel that I really loved. The architecture, great service and location really cannot be beaten in Bath, and although it's not cheap, it's not ridiculously priced either. If you have a chance to stay in Bath I urge you to stay at The Francis Hotel. You will not be disappointed. 
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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Fantasy Box - A Little Bit Of Seduction

A recent survey has revealed that one in three couples can't remember the last time they were intimate and one in ten admitting they are no longer intimate at all.

This study by The Fantasy Box shows how much us British are neglecting our sexual needs. Younger people citing work pressures are the cause of a lower libido whilst the older generation cite health concerns.

Over a third also admitted to hiding their sexual fantasies from their current partner, stating that they just don’t talk about sex anymore.

If you are one of these people or just want to add a little spice into your life, The Fantasy Box may be just what you are looking for. Mariah Byrne, the co-founder of The Fantasy Box created the company with her partner Chris with one mission - to bring back people's happy sex lives. This luxury service helps people explore in a safe, stress free and fun environment.




With this service you have four main theme in which to explore - Sensual, Control, Costume and Playful, and also a Honeymoon gift box. If you're looking to explore multiple types of play, the subscription option is your best bet because they include all the theme categories. One off boxes are also available to buy if you want a taster of the service. A classic introduction box is a good start if you want to try it out.


So I was sent the classic introduction box to try.


The introduction box priced at £49 contained the following items above (contents may vary):- A sexy black babydoll, a G string, a love mask, a soy candle, lubricant, a massager - we all know what I mean by this, (with batteries), and role playing cards. Everything was discreetly packaged in a stylish red box and in brown cardboard packaging. The neighbours would never know what fun you will be having!




The box comes with instructions, and the first box is all about communication and anticipation. Quote, "Your night will contain two main parts - a romantic dinner (complete with built-in sex talk) and a role playing game.", and then as they say the fun begins.


The Survey And The Scenario

With the box comes a survey for him and a survey for her. Before the 'date night' the idea is to complete the surveys then plan a time to discuss them, when you are relaxed, perhaps over dinner or a glass of wine. It is important here to discuss in particular any surprises or elaborate on any areas of interest. They recommend not judging or getting offended and going into this with an open mind. Even if you think you know your partners sexual preferences they suggest that you should not skip this part, as you could be surprised. You then discuss the best sex you remember having together and what specifically worked for you - in detail...





Then onto the Leader and Follower cards. This fantasy is about anticipation. I won't go into detail here to keep the surprise if you buy the box but the cards suggest a gentle submissive/control scenario. Ground rules are discussed and a 'safe word' which is an excellent idea. You can always switch the roles later in the month too. An interesting and thrilling game that can be as mild or as racy as you make it.

Exploring The Box

The box has a variety of items to use with or without the scenario. The quality of the items I was impressed with, for example the babydoll was soft yet stretchy. When you order you can choose the size required, and they do plus sizes too, which is great for all us curvy ladies. The G string was the right size and made of the same material as the babydoll.

The Sliquid organics natural lubricant felt silky to the touch and is glycerine and paraben free. A high quality water based lubricant - it did the job as they say, oh yes indeed!

The mask is a satin eyemask, made well. The only thing I would say is that it did have a little gap at the bottom, which to me defeats the point of it. Maybe I am being too picky here though.

The waterproof massager called Le Reve has three speeds, a silky soft coating and is gently curved. It wasn't intimidating either, no large male appendages to contend with!  Not all massagers are waterproof so this was a plus point, to be able to take this into the bath or shower if you wanted to.

The candle smelt sweet and fruity with orange undertones and it is infused with pheromones to enhance sexual arousal. 

As well as one off boxes, you can also buy 3, 6 or 12 month subscriptions which would make a nice Christmas gift for your partner.

In conclusion I really liked the box, and at £49 I think it's decent value for what you get. The survey really makes you think about your answers and discussing these with your partner can make for an interesting conversation and really open up about sex. It certainly added a bit of spice into our evening, and after 15 years of being together we need all the spice we can get ;) 

* I was sent a box to review, all words and opinions are my own
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Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Revamping Your Kitchen With A Makeover

Installing a new kitchen can be an expensive business but if you are short of money some new accessories and some carefully chosen small appliances can give your kitchen a new lease of life and improve your home.

Organising the space, decluttering, painting the walls and adding some accessories and appliances like a combination microwave oven or food processor can all make a big difference to the look, feel and use of the kitchen.

Organisation


Copyright: thieury Shutterstock

Remove any large items cluttering up the work surface that are not in regular use. They just collect dust otherwise and make the kitchen look less spacious. Store these items as close as possible to where you will be using it for the best ergonomic design. Consider a wall or ceiling mounted pan rack to make efficient use of space.

Decluttering

Go through the drawers and cupboards one step of a time to declutter. Do you really need all the items you have stored? Divide the items into keep, give away/throw away or sell. If money is tight consider selling items in good condition on Ebay, or give them to a neighbour or charity. Consider gadgets you don't use, or are difficult to clean and dishes or glasses you don't like to be the first to go.

Painting




Copyright: MR. INTERIOR Shutterstock


A nice fresh lick of paint can make the world of difference to any space. Test colour on the walls first but when in doubt white paint will give a fresh feel. Due to the moisture in the environment the best paint for a kitchen is one with a mould exhibitor. 

Painting your cupboards is also a great way to freshen up your kitchen. Don't forget preparation is key here. Wash down the cabinets with sugar soap to remove grease and grime. If you have wood cabinets, when the cabinets are dry, use some fine sand paper and give the cabinets a rub over. Then apply a wood primer and when dry paint. A special cupboard paint can mean you save time as you do not need to prime first. If you have melamine cupboards you can buy a melamine primer - use this, leave to dry, then paint.  A few simple steps like these can mean a major change to the look of your kitchen at a fraction of the price of a new one.

Accessories And Appliances
A combination microwave can be a useful addition to your kitchen

Consider only adding accessories and appliances that you will use and will make life easier

If you are looking to buy a microwave for the first time or are looking to change the one you have, a combination microwave oven is a good choice as it can cook, brown and grill food.  As well as saving time, this can be used as an extra oven if you have a big family. This is one area where paying for a quality brand is recommended such as Panasonic.

If you love cooking, a food processor or mixer can be a useful addition to your kitchen appliances. Consider a cheaper brand if money is tight as some mixers can run in the hundreds of pounds and do the same job. You are paying for design and what's on trend here not functionality. 

Some new accessories like a new toaster and kettle, oven gloves and teatowels can add those finishing touches and freshen up the space.

With some simple changes I hope you can see how you can revamp your kitchen at the fraction of the price of a new one.

* PR collaboration

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Saturday, 5 December 2015

Win Your Jewellery Wishlist With Fraser Hart

With Christmas just around the corner every self respecting fashionista will be thinking of their jewellery needs for Christmas parties or for that very special Christmas present from a loved one.

What if I told you, you could win your jewellery wishlist from Fraser Hart jewellers this Christmas to a value of £1500 for free?

I thought that would you get your attention!

The Competition

Fraser Hart jewellers is one of the UK leading jewellers, with over 37 stores nationwide. This Christmas they are giving you the chance to win your jewellery wishlist in three easy steps. 

Firstly find the item you love and click 'Add to Wishlist'.


Secondly sign in or register with Fraser Hart to create your account.



Thirdly, share your wishlist via email. 


It is as easy as that, and you could win all the items on your list up to £1,500. Even if you don't win, your loved one could get the hint and buy you what you love so it's a win-win, situation anyway!


My Wishlist

I have to admit, it took a while to decide what to put on my wishlist, as I found the choice exceptional and I could have chosen almost everything there, but decide I did and these are my choices.



Michael Kors Sawyer ladies chronograph watch £259
9ct white gold, sapphire and diamond ring £499
Thomas Sabo pearl, dumortierite and haematite bracelet £29.95

Michael Kors is a brand that is well known in fashion circles and this ladies chronograph watch really caught my eye. The stone set face is set with nine sparkling stones and this watch is simply gorgeous.

This 9ct white gold and sapphire ring has just under a third of a carat of diamond and is truly beautiful. In the centre of the ring sit four blue sapphires, all surrounded by the sparkling diamonds. A ring to get you noticed.

Thomas Sabo is another brand I know and love. I have many Thomas Sabo items including their iconic charm bracelet. The mix of colours in this bracelet really make it a stand out item and you can add a charm or two to the silver carrier on the end to personalise it as well.

9ct white gold and diamond swirl earrings £325
9ct white gold and diamond swirl pendant £299
Silver cubic zirconia buckle bangle £75


Christmas time is the party season. These white gold and diamond earrings are a fabulous buy. The drop earrings move as you walk and the diamonds pick up the light. I am in love with the swirl design.

The matching white gold and diamond pendant is very chic, understated but glamorous too. A pendant that would accessorise a little black dress perfectly that's for sure.

This silver cubic zirconia bangle is a super price and matches the diamond necklace and earring set above. A lovely gift for the money.

With some of my favourite brands such as Thomas Sabo, Michael Kors and Tresor Paris, and a range of affordable jewellery as well as stunning platinum creations, Fraser Hart is the jewellers you go to for quality, expertise and excellent customer service. Standard delivery is also only £3 and free if you spend over £50.

If you make a wishlist, I hope you get everything you hoped for and if you enter the competition then I wish you good luck and have a very merry Christmas.

* a sponsored post, all words and opinions are my own
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