Saturday, 29 November 2014

eNail polishes, giveaway & discount code

Beautifully presented enail giftbox

enail logo on tissue paper inside

enail gift box with polishes inside

enail nail polishes

Close up of enail purple glitter polishes

Clear enail top coat

Brush with enail polishes

This is something perfect for Christmas for friends and family that are lovers of nail polish.  eNail provide a gift box of 3 nail polishes where you pick the colours, and you name the bottle, how fab is that?

The website is easy to use, you start off by naming your polishes over 3 rows, I named mine 'Pixi3 Polish' using their Andes font.  After that, click on 'colours' and click & drag the shades you want over to the bottles, you can chop and change until you find a combination you're happy with.  You could stick to one colour family like I did, or pick 3 completely different colours out of 47 shades all together - you also get to pick between cream and glitter polishes.  Then, click on 'box' and pick your choice from 12 different designs, I went for a classic black that came with a teal ribbon, which by the way, was very well presented :)

The polishes took about 3 days to get to me, so if you're thinking of ordering this for someone for Christmas, there's plenty of time.

Being the muppet I am, I didn't take any pictures of me wearing the nail polish before I bit all my nails off, and they're now not exactly photo-worthy... For the days I had the polish on my nails (I had the creamy purple shade on and then the dark purple glitter over the top) I can say that the quality was decent.  The creamy purple shade needed 2 coats, pretty typical for a nail polish - the colour really reminds me of my favourite purple OPI shade 'Suzi and the 7 Dussledorfs'.

The glitter polish was a different consistency than I'm used to, it was thick and gloopy, this did mean however that it didn't need more than one coat - but I'm not sure if any air had gotten to it, or if it's just a thick consistency.  I had both on my nails for 2 days and in that time it didn't chip :)

The brush that comes with the polish is decent too, the bristles aren't splayed and they glide the polish on well.

They've also offered my readers a discount code DISC10 for 10% off orders, another great incentive :)  They offer free delivery as standard within in the UK, and a free clear top coat with every order. The RRP is £19.95 but with the 10% discount it makes it £17.96, which for 3 polishes, gift wrapped, isn't bad at all :)

As well as a discount code, there's also a set of these up for grabs, the winner will receive a code to apply which will give them a free box (and free delivery of course) - which you could order for yourself as a treat, or as a Christmas present for a friend or family member - because of how close we are to Christmas, I'm only going to run this giveaway for a week (open to UK residents), so get entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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*Post contains PR samples

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Christmas gift set from Balance Me

Balance Me Rose Otto bath and body set

Balance Me gifts inside

You may have seen my previous Balance Me reviews - they're a natural, organic skincare brand started up by a pair of sisters (Clare and Rebecca Hopkins) who stepped away from their corporate careers and retrained in a holistic career, making skincare products in the home, in search of a better work life balance.

They've released a lovely range of Christmas gift sets, ranging from the rose otto bath and body set above, to body wash trio's to skincare collections for different skin concerns.

One thing I love about Balance Me is that they're free of parabens, mineral oil, sulphates and other nasties, and more importantly, they don't test on animals, yay.

The products of theirs I've used have been lovely, they've been hydrating, they've smelled amazing and felt really luxurious.  This would be a great gift for a friend, or mother/sister/daughter - and at £10 for the set, could even be a stocking filler, or a lovely present if you're on a tight budget.

You can find the set here if you're interested in picking it up, or have a look at their Christmas range here.

What are your favourite pieces from Balance Me?
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*This post contains PR samples

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Newsflash: Yves Rocher Black Friday deals

Yves Rocher black friday deals 2014

Yves Rocher currently have just launched some amazing Black Friday deals - they start today and go on until Monday 1st December, they have up to 70% off 40 of their best selling products, good deal eh!  Could be a great opportunity to pick up some of your favourite products, try some new ones or pick up some affordable presents or stocking fillers for loved ones.

Anyway, I've put together a quick image on some of my top picks from their best sellers and a quick links to help you find them :)

What would be your top picks or on your wishlist?

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*Collaborative post

Monday, 24 November 2014

Yesterday, today & tomorrow

#AngelAddiction - Yesterday, today and tomorrow

A slightly different post for me today, a lifestyle post.  When something big happens in your life, one of those big events, it's a time when you evaluate where your life is going, where it's been and where you are, and ultimately if you're happy where you are and where it's going.

Needless to say, where I am right now and where it's going, I couldn't be happier with.  The people over at Angel perfume,Thierry Mugler have challenged bloggers to create a moodboard that encapsulates your most cherished addictions, both from the past, present and future.  

The top strip of the image reflects my past, Sooty was one of my most cherished childhood addictions, I was obsessed with him! I used to cry if he was told off, I used to cry when the show was over, and when I was little my mum took me to the theatre to see Sooty, I remember being so happy then :)  Then there's the stargazer lilly, a flower obsession that started when I was 15 and got my first job, working as a Saturday girl in a flower shop.  I discovered how beautiful these were, and how amazing they smell.

My present - well, my cat is a big part of my life, she's been a staple in it for the past 9 years and I hope she'll be in it for at least another 9 years.  She's certainly a character, she doesn't like other people, she's not friendly with others, but she's really affectionate with the hubby and I and just wants to be near us all the time, very cute.  Then we have an image of My Neighbour Totoro, probably my favourite Studio Ghibli film - the image represents my love of Studio Ghibli and their animation style, their beautiful details illustrations and fantastical stories.  I really hope that Squidge will grow up loving these too.

Next, my future.  It's going to be an obvious one, my future is these two, my baby and my husband. My life revolves around them and I wouldn't have it any other way.  Squidge is now 7 weeks old and coming on in leaps and bounds, and this Christmas (Dec 16th) will see the other half and I being together for 13 years (married for 6).  It's been a hell of a year, mostly horrendous and I have to say, I can't wait to see the back of it - but having Squidge and getting pregnant was the diamond in the rough, I guess that's life balancing itself out, if only it wasn't at such great emotional expense.

What does the future hold? Who knows, I hope it holds us raising a happy and healthy baby boy, moving to a bigger house to allow us to have baby number 2 and all of us being happy and healthy, that's about all I can wish for :)

What are your most cherished memories and what are you most looking forward to about the future? What are your #AngelAddictions?

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*Collaborative post

Saturday, 22 November 2014

PicStick fridge magnets & discount code

PicStick fridge magnets on the fridge

PicStick of Matilda's cute paws

Matilda looking smug fridge magnet

Matilda looking over her shoulder like a celebrity

Close up of a PicStick fridge magnet - Matilda close up

How adorable are these fridge magnets?  I mean yeah, I might be biased and think they're cute because they have pics of my cat Matilda on there, but still, CUTE!

I got these from PicStick - they're £9.50* for a sheet of 9 magnets - you simply create an account on their website, upload the images you want to use and that's it, 2 days later (that's how quick it was for me, but depends on Royal Mail of course) the sheet of magnets turn up on your doorstep ready for you to adorn your fridge.  They're on a sheet and kiss-cut (I think that's the right term) which means you just need to pull them apart as they're pre-cut.  They pulled apart really easily and without tearing any of the magnets and if I do say so myself, they look pretty sweet on the fridge :)

While I'm sure fellow pet lovers like me wouldn't hesitate to spend £10 on something like that, they could also be a lovely gift for someone for Christmas - off the top of my head, you could use them for:
  • Pics of your baby, then give them as presents to grandparents
  • Pet pics of a friends pet for them for Christmas
  • Selfie pics and nights out pics for your friends

There's lots of possibilities, you just need the pics to upload and that's it :)  Now, the lovely people over at PicStick have also given me a 25% discount to share with you all, just enter the code PIXI325 when you're at the checkout for 25% off :)

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*This post contains PR samples

Friday, 21 November 2014

Michael Todd Soniclear

Soniclear box

Michael Todd Soniclear box contents

Michael Todd Soniclear device with rubber grip handle

Michael Todd Soniclear on charge

For a long time now I've been wanting to try a cleansing brush akin to the Clairsonic, so when the iconic skincare brand Michael Todd released this, it became etched onto my wishlist.

The set comes with the main cordless Soniclear device, a charging stand, a charging cord, a face cleansing brush (attached to it) and a body cleansing brush (pictured).  When you first get it, you just need to plug it in and charge it for 24 hours before you're good to go.  A full charge from then on will give you up to 35 minutes of use.

"The Soniclear also includes antimicrobial protection against stain and odour causing bacteria and has a brush speed of over 300 per second.  Within just minutes of use per day, your skin is healthier, clearer and brighter looking with smoother texture and refined pores"

The device can be set to different speeds so that if your skin is more sensitive you could have it on a slower setting so not to be as abrasive.  On the flipside of that, if you have very dry or rough skin, having it on the higher setting might help to smooth your skin.  The Soniclear is also safe to use with a face scrub as well as a cleanser.

The device has a built in 2 minute cleansing cycle.  Every 20 seconds it'll beep letting you know to move on to a different area of your skin/face.  After 2 minutes the device will automatically stop.  

It's up to you which cleansers you want to use with it, Michael Todd recommend using products like their honey & oat gel cleanser, or jojoba charcoal face scrub.  As much as lots of their skincare is on my wishlist, I don't actually own any, so I used both the Liz Earle cleanse & polish with this, and the Clarins gentle foaming cleanser.  

This may seem obvious, but you must make sure you remove any eye makeup first, as this product isn't suitable for use on the eye area.  Personally, I removed my eye makeup with Bioderma and a cotton pad first, then filled up the sink with hot water, put some cleanser on the brush (after wetting it) and a little dotted on my face (typically I used the Clarins gentle foaming cleanser).  Then after turning the Soniclear on, I very gently (without applying pressure) worked the cleanser in using a circular motion, starting with the cheeks, then chin, nose and forehead.

There's two main things I really liked about this:

  • It didn't break me out
  • It left my skin feeling incredibly soft

I also like how easy it was to use and set up, and the rubber grip which stops it from slipping out of your hands when they're wet.

The price point is good - it's comparable to it's competitors such as the Clairsonic with the Soniclear coming in at $150 (about £95 at the current exchange rate (20/11/14)).

Overall I really liked this, I love the colour (I'm a sucker for purple!), it worked really well, was easy to use and left my skin feeling lovely without breaking me out.  My next challenge is to try this out with different cleansers to see which ones work best, the Michael Todd honey & oat cleanser is definitely top of my list on ones to try with it.

If you're interested in reading more about it check out their website here.

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*Post contains PR samples

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Recipe: Bread & Butter pudding

Bread & Butter pudding straight out of the oven

Bread & Butter pudding with Madagascan vanilla custard
I've been really enjoying cooking and baking again now that I'm not pregnant and repulsed by most foods :P  I've never made bread & butter pudding, my mum used to make it when I was young and I remember it being lovely, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.  I got the recipe from the Sunrise Care website.

6 slices of white bread
30g salted butter
15g currants
60ml semi-skimmed milk
20ml double cream
20g caster sugar
1/4 lemon, zested
Pinch of ground nutmeg
150ml vanilla custard
2 eggs
20g brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 180C/ fan 160C/ gas mark 4 and butter the baking dish. 
2. Butter the bread, cut the crusts off and arrange a layer at the bottom of the prepared baking dish and top with half of the currants.
3. Repeat Step 2 until the slices of bread and currants have been used. 
4. In a separate bowl cream together the eggs with the sugar until pale yellow, then add the milk, double cream and lemon zest. 
5. Pour the mix over the bread making, ensuring all of the bread is covered. 
6. Sprinkle with nutmeg and brown sugar.
7. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
8. Serve with vanilla custard. 

As this is the first time I've made bread & butter pudding, I have nothing to compare it to, what I can say, it turned out to be very tasty and went down well!

It would have been nice if the recipe had said what size baking dish to use, I used the smallest one I have and had to add 2 slices of bread to the mix as 6 slices weren't quite enough - so I had to add extra milk and cream to the mix too :)

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*The cost of the ingredients were covered by Sunrise Care

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

His & Hers glasses from Specspost

Superdry glasses (Jet Star in pink)
When the lovely people at Specspost asked me if I'd like to review some of their glasses, I was really excited - I'd already happened to browse their site and been building a bit of a wishlist, since the glasses I had at the time needed updating and I didn't have Specsavers kind of money to spend on them.

After a bit of back and forth trying to find a pair that would fit me that was in the purple/pink spectrum, they suggested these beauties, this is actually my first piece of anything Superdry!  They're made of plastic and have lenses with the anti-reflective coating on them.  They're black on the outside, and swirly pink on the inside - I love glasses that have a second bright colour on them, especially if its on the inside just to make them a bit different and more interesting.

These feel really solid, they're really well made, which you'd expect from a designer brand.  They retail for £95* with Specspost, which on comparison with the likes of Vision Direct, is significantly cheaper (over £50 cheaper like-for-like).

They also came with a fantastic glasses case and cleaning cloth, the case is a wooden box with a metal lid, with the Superdry Japanese characters on the side, I like!
Superdry glasses in pink

Superdry glasses and box

Superdry logo on their glasses

Me wearing Superdry glasses

Hawaii nights geek glasses
This is the 'his' part of the review.  After the hubby spent an extensive amount of time browsing their glasses, he narrowed it down to these two beauties.  This pair are part of their geek glasses range, they're made of plastic and the lenses also have the anti-glare coating on them.

I chatted to the hubby about these and actually quoted him below about the other pair - he basically had the same sentiment about both, other than preferring the style of the other pair, so they've become his main pair and these ones are his spare, and ones that he wears when he fancies a change.

The glasses come with a hard glasses case and cleaning cloth, and as the hubby mentioned, only cost £30* (and that's with the anti-glare coating).

Hawaii nights glasses

Inside of Hawaii nights glasses

Hawaii nights glasses with glass case
Hubby wearing Hawaii nights glasses

Justin Timberlake glasses

These are plastic frames and the lenses have the anti-glare coating - if you're not sure what that is, its a film or coating that they add to the lens that helps when you're driving at night, not to create the star glare you get on headlights from oncoming cars at night.

To quote the hubby "They're very comfortable and nice & light.  The lenses are great, after months of wear there's not so much as one scratch on them.  I really like the style of them, these are my favourite out of the two pairs.  They seem really sturdy and well made, I really like that the inside of them is green.  The price is right, I can't imagine going to a high-street opticians and spending hundreds on a pair after seeing the quality of these for £30."

These are lovely frames - the green his hidden behind the front of the frame so you don't immediately notice the colour which makes it nice and subtle - you've gotta love the name of them too :P

Justin Timberlake frames

Green inside of the Justin Timberlake frames

Justin Timberlake glasses and glass box
Hubby with Justin Timberlake glasses

Overall we were really happy with the glasses we had from Specspost, they were all great quality and for a great price point.  They had a great range of frames to choose from and the service was fab!

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*This post contains PR samples

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Cosme-de Haul

NARS Dolce Vita

Benefit Coralista

Until a few weeks ago I'd not heard of Cosme-de - but they're a skincare, makeup, fragrance site who sell different brands, both high street and high end, at low prices (think Fragrance Direct) and from what I've seen, they hold quite a few flash sales too.

They sell makeup from a range of brands like Dior, Guerlian, NARS, Benefit, Clinique, Bobby Brown and more and have free worldwide shipping on every order which is pretty sweet :)

Here's a quick first impressions of both blushers, full reviews will be coming soon in separate posts.

NARS Blusher in Dolce Vita
I absolutely love this colour - it reminds me of the Maybelline blusher in Flash Plum which is one of my favs for autumn.  It's a dark deep berry that is beautifully pigmented, you certainly don't need to swoosh your brush in it much to pick up just the right amount of product.  In fact, I tend to dab my blusher brush in it, 2-3 times which pretty much picks up enough.  Love the deep shade of this and how it's not very shimmery, and in my opinion, a great shade for very pale skin (at least, when applied lightly) :)

Benefit Coralista
I just had to pick one of Benefits most cult blushers!  I don't own many coral blushers, and while for me, they're more of a spring shade, I just couldn't resist.  This one I really like to use as a double blush, so I'll apply this first on the apples of my cheeks, and then layer another blusher over the top closer to my cheekbones, like the NARS Dolce Vita.  Coralista is soft and delicately shimmery, whereas Dolce Vita is a deep berry toned blusher, perfect for these autumnal days for that 'just got in from outside' look.

Have you tried either of these blushers?  What was your favourite?

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*This post contains PR samples

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Pettigrew tea rooms Cardiff

Nestled in the heart of Cardiff, sitting amongst the trees in Bute Park, on the edge of the castle grounds and next to the River Taff is Pettigrew tea rooms.  Named after the old head gardener of Cardiff Castle, Pettigrew is a miniature castle echoing the design of it's big sister, including the ramparts.  

It's a vintage inspired and themed tea room, one that hits the mark more than any other I've been to. The china, music, and d├ęcor are all on point and beautifully eclectic, fitting the tea room perfectly. 
Cardiff, river taff
 The river taff, running alongside Bute Park, next to Pettigrew tea rooms (millennium stadium at the end of the photo)

Path in bute park
 Bute park

Pettigrew tea rooms
 Pettigrew tea rooms at the entrance to Bute Park

Vintage china tea cups
 China tea cup and plate ready for afternoon tea

Sandwich selection at Pettigrew
The sandwich selection to pick from for afternoon tea - we had the classic cucumber and cream cheese, brie and fruit chutney, and the hubby had beef and horseradish

finger sandwiches and scones at Pettigrew
 Our selection

Scones with jam and clotted cream
 We picked plain scones, but we did have a choice of plain or fruity

Homemade iced carrot cake
 Home-made carrot cake

Assam tea
Assam tea

The afternoon tea consists of a pot of tea of your choice, I opted for a fruity fusion of black tea with apple, strawberry and caramel (it was lovely!) while the hubby had assam.  You pick 3 different sandwich fillings and also get a scone each (we opted for plain, but I don't think you always get a choice).  

The scones were served with clotted cream and Caerphilly strawberry jam and were both mine and the hubby's favourite part of the cream tea, the scones were still warm, fresh from the oven :)  Once we'd demolished our scones, it was time to pick cake.  They have big vintage display cabinet, housing an array of fantastic looking cakes - we opted for carrot cake, I'm always a sucker for that.

It was lovely, moist and with just the right amount of cinnamon.  But, after all of that sweetness we realised we'd overdone it and should have asked for the cake to be boxed up and had it later.

All food is made and prepared fresh on site, so all the lovely cakes they have are home-made up in their kitchen.

Pettigrew tea rooms is without a doubt, my favourite place to go in Cardiff, this is probably my 7th or 8th visit, I fell in love with the place the first time I went there, which was for a local blogger meetup about 2 years ago, I couldn't get over how lovely all the staff were, and this wasn't a fluke, every time I've been back the staff have been very knowledgeable and friendly.  

If you're ever in Cardiff, I urge you to seek them out - but be warned, they're very popular, so try to call ahead if you can so not to be disappointed! If you're looking for other things to do in Cardiff, why not read other expert guides on things to do while you're here.

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*Afternoon tea was complimentary, all views and opinions are my own
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