Sunday, 27 October 2013

Sunday Spotlight - 27th October 2013

This week, I’ve been loving…

Going to the hairdressers

I’m not very good at relaxing. I can sit at home and watch TV, or read a book, but I don’t relax. The only times I seem to really unwind are when I go to the hairdressers or for a massage (not that I get to do this much – I definitely think that pampering should be available on prescription!) So this Monday I visited my local salon, Perfection, for a treatment, cut and blow-dry.

They recently had a complete re-fit and the salon looks great – simple, stylish and classy. The staff are lovely and will always listen to what look I’m trying to achieve. Having my hair washed is definitely my favourite part, then after that I tend to bury my head in a complementary magazine while the stylist works their magic!

This visit was especially great as I left with a goody bag full of freebies – always a winner! I think I might be spending more of my time down there as they are now branching out into nails and waxing treatments too!

Soreen Limited Edition Chocolate Malt Loaf

I’d heard others raving about Soreen loaves but I’ve never got round to trying one. Then I spotted this little lovely on an Instagram post and knew I had to try it. So, I hunted high and low and finally found a Sainsbury’s with some in stock, so I snapped one up. I’ve never eaten malt loaf before, so wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was very pleasantly surprised. You only need a small slice to fill you up (although it is rather moreish!) and what’s even better is it’s low calorie, so a nice guilt-free treat. If only it wasn’t limited edition…

Hot water bottles

I’m really struggling with pain at the moment and while my GP investigates something else, I can’t take any medication to try and alleviate it. So, I’ve been looking into other pain killing solutions and have found that heat slightly helps.

I’ve got a lovely red, spotty, fluffy hot water bottle, which I snuggle down in bed with every evening. The only downside is that it’s only little so obviously can only be used at one pain site. Now if someone could invent a whole heated onesie – I’d go for that!

I’ve also got my eye on an Aroma Cat Hottie from M&S, as I find hotties tend to keep their heat longer and also smell lovely. Plus who could resist this cute design?!

What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Sunday Spotlight - 20th October 2013

This week, I’ve been loving…


I would quite happily live in pyjamas if I could, especially with there being so many cute, snuggly and pretty ones available. For my birthday I got a lovely pair of Purple fleecy pyjamas from Primark and this week I’ve not felt too well, so have been snuggling up in them at every opportunity. I did pop to Marks and Spencer with my Mum a few days ago and I was really excited to see all their wintery/Christmas selection. I’ve got my eye on a few pairs of pyjamas, as I’d like to get myself a new pair to wear on Christmas Eve. If you’re a pyjama fiend like me, I’d recommend checking out M&S and Primark. I’d love to hear of any other places selling nice pyjamas from you!

Red checked PJ's from M&S

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Same Love feat. Mary Lambert

I know this song has been out for a while, but I just can’t get enough of it! I’d never heard of Macklemore before this, but have since listened to a few more of their songs and I really like their style of music. I particularly like the chorus by Mary Lambert.

Check out the song here 


I’m a self-confessed soap addict and I’m not ashamed to admit it! Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, Corrie and Eastenders – I watch them all. But this week has been particularly epic, both in the Hollyoaks and Emmerdale villages and on the Coronation Street cobbles.

In Hollyoaks there was a massive explosion in the council houses, with fatal consequences. I must admit I shed a little tear when Dennis had to explain to Leanne that she was going to die. Emmerdale brought us some edge-of-your-seat drama when killer Cameron escaped from prison and came back to the village to find Debbie and seek revenge. It resulted in him holding half the village hostage in the Woolpack, leaving Alesha fighting for her life in hospital and a watery struggle involving Cameron, Debbie, Chas and Marlon, with one of them not making it out alive. And lastly in Corrie it was Lily Platt’s Christening and the secrets of a DNA test and the extent of David’s anger at his brother were revealed. This week also continued to follow Roy and Hayley’s touching story, after Hayley’s cancer diagnosis, as they had a day out in Blackpool.

I know a lot of the time these soaps are pretty far-fetched, but I find them such a good distraction if I’m not feeling great.

What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!

Friday, 18 October 2013

It's going to be a Lush Christmas!

I was thinking about this the other day, and I worked out I’ve been shopping at Lush for 10 years now – where does the time go?! It started off when I was invited to a friend’s birthday party, held in our local Lush Basingstoke store, and from then on I was hooked! One of my favourite seasons for Lush products has got to be Christmas – they always have so many fun things to offer to suit all price ranges. When I got my Lush Christmas e-mail through I dived straight into the website to check out what new products they had come up with this year, and also to check that my beloved Snow Fairy was going to be available again (it is, so I could breathe a sigh of relief knowing I can stock up for another year!)

Lush have so many exciting products on offer this Christmas that I’d be here all day if I introduced all of them, so I thought I’d talk about the ones I’m most excited - not an easy task to whittle down when they all look so darn good!

First we have Bombardino - a bath bomb based on an apr├Ęs ski drink made in the Italian Alps. Its scent is said to replicate that of a lemon meringue pie and with added cocoa butter, your skin will be left feeling silky smooth.

This pink bottle is filled with my all-time favourite Lush smell - Snow Fairy shower gel . I could quite happily use this shower gel all year round – it has an intensely sweet smell of candyfloss and pear drops (and I must admit it brings up old memories of strawberry Calpol, before all the added sugar was removed!)

Christmas would not be Christmas without the obligatory Snowman and this is Lush’s rather cute offering. Another bath bomb, fragranced with the same vanilla fragrance as their Butterball, you should be left with baby-soft skin thanks to it being jam-packed with cocoa butter.

With my favourite fragrance being Snow Fairy, I was so excited to see an extension to the usual shower gel – a Snow Fairy Sparkle Bar. It has the famous scent of Snow Fairy, packed into a massage bar with a fondant centre and heaps of fairy glitter to get you sparkling for those Christmas parties.

Shoot for the Stars ballistic is another for the bath bomb collection and will leave your bath swirling with magical starry-night colours. Along with these beautiful colours, your bathroom will be filled with a deliciously comforting honey-toffee fragrance, just like their Honey I Washed the Kids soap.

If you have a thing for the Honey I Washed the Kids fragrance, then you will definitely want to check out Fun Gold. Their new product, Fun, has been given a Christmas makeover with a fabulous gold lustre and is one of the most versatile products on offer.

Every Christmas I would always treat myself to a Lil’ Lush Pud, but this year they have shaken things up a bit and given it a radical makeover, to give us Luxury Lush Pud. When the stresses and madness of Christmas get too much for you, the lavender fragrance and soothing pastel colours will let you drift off into a relaxing land of bubbles.

I always find you have that one Secret Santa present that you just can’t decide what to get for. Well, here’s your answer the Lush Secret Santa ballistic. It is a supersized bath bomb, meaning you are likely to get more than one bath from it, and I’m so excited to see that mini red Father Christmas hiding inside!

The Christmas Penguin has got to be one of the cutest Bubble Bars I’ve seen – I think I’d cry as I crumbled it into my bath water! But the uplifting fragrance of orange flower absolute and Sicilian mandarin oil should definitely put you in a good mood, while corn flour will soften your water, leaving you with silky soft skin.

The last product I’ve looked at is Candy Mountain, which sounds so girly and sweet I can’t wait to try it. It is inspired by the pretty pink colour of Snow Fairy (probably why I like the look of it so much!) and is said to display a magical pink mist at the peaks of foaming bubbles.

I thought I’d also introduce a few of the gifts on offer this Christmas, as I always find them a great choice for friends, colleagues and family members if I’m ever stuck on what to buy. Lush have a great range of gifts on offer this year, starting with Snow Fairy Cone Gift. It makes a nice change from the standard gift box and contains three products – a 100g Snow Fairy shower gel, Shimmy Shimmy massage bar and a star shaped Angel’s Delight soap.

Next up is Mr Frosty’s better half, Mrs Frosty. A unique gift in the shape of a girly snow lady, filled with a Butterball bath bomb, So White bath bomb and the delicious mini Comforter bubble bar.

For those of us fairies who deserve a real pampering treat this Christmas, this Stardust Gift will come top of the list. In a funky pink star reusable box, you will find the Space Girl bath bomb, Snow Fairy sparkle bar, Candy Mountain bubble bar, Rock Star soap, 100g Snow Fairy shower gel and Star Light, Star Bright bath melt. Magical!

Another fun gift in the knot-wrap range is the Igloo. This again comes with a reusable knot-wrap in the style of an igloo and contains Green, Blue and Red Fun (100g each), Snowman bath bomb and The Christmas Penguin bubble bar. A great choice for introducing some Fun to the kids’ bath time.

I couldn’t give a round up of these Christmas gifts without including Wow! Hatbox. You’ll have to be really good for Santa to bring you one of these, as it contains a whopping 32 Lush products including a Father Christmas bath bomb, Snowcake soap, Christmas Eve bubble bar and Rose Jam shower gel (100g).

Last but by no means least, is Festive Goodies - the perfect parcel of Christmassy goodness that will bring some Christmas cheer to whoever receives it. Inside, you’ll find a Snowman bath bomb, The Christmas Penguin bubble bar and a Father Christmas bath bomb. What’s not to like?!

With so many awesome products on offer this year, Lush is definitely the place to go this Christmas. I just can’t decide which products to put on my shopping list!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sunday Spotlight – 13th October 2013

This week, I’ve been loving…

Bedroom Boots

You’ll notice there’s a bit of a wintery theme across my last few Sunday Spotlights – I just love doing whatever I can to brighten up these cold, damp winter days! I’ve got pretty terrible circulation, which often leaves me with feet like ice blocks. Fluffy socks and slippers can only do so much, but a few years ago I discovered the bedroom boot and have never looked back! You can get them in all sorts of colours, patterns and styles, so there are plenty to choose from to suit every taste. My favourite place to buy mine is Accessorize - they always seem to have a great variety of fluffy designs to keep my tootsies extra warm.

This year’s Children in Need single – Ellie Goulding – How Long Will I Love You

I love Children in Need – the idea of doing something fun and different to raise money for such a good cause is great. I’m always intrigued to hear what that year’s Children in Need song will be, and who will sing it, and this year I was delighted to hear Fearne Cotton announce on her Radio 1 show that Ellie Goulding had recorded the song for 2013. I’m a big Ellie Goulding fan, so even before I heard it I knew it would be great, and she hasn’t disappointed. I’ll be downloading my copy when it is released on the 10th November and would urge you to do the same!

There’s a little information here to keep you going until it is available for download!

Catching up with far-away friends

During the course of being ill, I’ve made some fantastic friends through an M.E charity called AYME. Some of us have never met and simply stay in touch via text, e-mail, letter or Facebook, but I’ve also been lucky enough to meet quite a few of them face-to-face. This weekend a couple of them came to visit for a little birthday afternoon tea party, and we chilled out on our comfy sofas and chatted about all sorts of things. It’s so lovely to know people who really understand, who you don’t have to explain things to but also who you can simply have a normal conversation with about what was on TV last night or what book you’ve just read. Due to my health and theirs, I don’t get to see my AYME friends enough, but just knowing they’re there can sometimes be enough.

What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The Vyne - A National Trust visit

I remember being younger, and my parents taking us for days out to National Trust places. They would usually involve us running around in endless grounds surrounded by various flowers, which we loved, and then being dragged around an old house, which we probably weren’t so keen on!

Several years later, I’m now obviously older and more able to appreciate looking round an old house at different artefacts and paintings.

For my 25th birthday I wanted to do something nice to celebrate. The normal procedure in our house is to go out for a family meal, but I’m not really up to that right now, so spent quite a while trying to think what else we could do. That’s when I came up with the idea of visiting a National Trust property. We are lucky to have quite a few properties local to us, but decided to go to The Vyne, in Basingstoke, as it’s somewhere I went as a child and wanted to revisit it as an adult. Unfortunately, the majority of my family were busy doing other things, so in the end it was just Mum, Dad and I who went, but it was actually quite nice to spend some quality time with the both of them!

We arrived at about midday, to find plenty of free parking, including a good number of spaces nearer to the entrance office for disabled guests. Walking into the office we received a warm welcome from two National Trust volunteers, who explained the different prices, depending on whether you wanted to visit the house and gardens, or just the gardens. My parents are already members of the National Trust, meaning they got in for free, so it was just £12 for me to visit the house and gardens. We were given a leaflet about The Vyne, including the top things to look out for, which gave us things to focus on as we walked round. It looks like things have changed a bit since I was younger, as there are now activity packs for children, which looked like great fun!

On the other side of the office was a waiting point, where a golf buggy will pick you up and drive you up to the main house – a great facility if you struggle to walk that distance or simply fancy treating yourself to a ride in a golf buggy! We decided to take a gentle stroll up the gravel path and through the walled gardens. They really were beautiful, there’s no other way I can describe them, and I was left wishing I had enough space at home to grow my own fruit and vegetables, keep chickens and grow some wild flowers! I particularly loved the fact that each chicken had a different coloured ring on his or her leg, and from this you could identify his or her name.

We took a look in a small building, next to a 600-year-old tree, which housed some very funky art-work that The Vyne are displaying at the moment. I thought this stylish pigeon was rather fun!

At this point we thought it would be a good time to stop for some lunch, so we headed towards the tearoom. The selection wasn’t huge, but it was all quality homemade food. There were three hot options – my Dad went for the stew and my Mum went for the soup and bread, which the both said were lovely. I decided to have a sandwich and a cookie, as well as some pink lemonade, which I’ll definitely be looking out for to have again!

After our lunch we ambled over to the main house, which looked very impressive from the outside. We were, again, greeted by some volunteers who gave us a guide to the house and sent us in the right direction. It was very interesting looking at all the old rooms, paintings and artefacts, and thinking the Henry the Eighth had once walked the same halls that we were walking. There were plenty of eager volunteers dotted around the house to answer our questions and demonstrate some of the pieces to us, like an old music box and piano.

Coming out of the house, you are greeted with a beautiful view of an expanse of lush green grass taking you down to a tranquil lake, with cows grazing in the fields beyond it. It was very relaxing walking down beside the lake, watching the ducks paddle round in gentle circles. We headed back up towards the walled gardens, checking out the gift shop on the way.

We spent just over three hours there altogether, which makes it a great choice for a morning or afternoon out. Leaving through the office, my Dad decided to treat me to a year’s membership to The National Trust, meaning I can now get in for free to any National Trust place. I think it’s definitely worth becoming a member if you enjoy visiting nice houses, gardens and landscapes. There are so many interesting places to visit all over the country – I’m just trying to decide where I should go next!

If you’re interested in finding out more about The National Trust, take a look at their website 

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Sunday Spotlight – 6th October 2013

This week, I’ve been loving the following…


So, on Friday I turned 25. I’ve been kind of dreading it to be honest – a quarter of a century and I feel like I haven’t achieved enough. But aside from that, I wanted to try and enjoy it as much as I could. I was truly spoilt by family and friends, and apart from having to work in the morning, I had a fairly quiet, relaxed day, with cake and candles in the evening. I then spent Saturday at a National Trust place with my Mum and Dad, which was lovely.

Downton Abbey

I’ll admit I never used to follow Downton Abbey. I kind of missed the first couple of series and then thought it was a bit late to start watching. But every series seems to come with so much hype and I starting getting a bit jealous that I couldn’t be part of discussions with friends about it. So, when this series came around I decided I’d give it a go, and now I’m wishing I’d started sooner! I’m completely hooked, and have also got my parents watching it with me. It’s really nice to snuggle down on the sofa on a Sunday evening for just over an hour of quality period drama. I just wish I’d seen the first few series!

If you’ve not seen Downton yet, or are a fan but want more information, check out the ITV Website 


I’ve really noticed the darker nights (and days!) creeping in on us over the past week or so and it’s made me want to brighten up the house to make it feel cosier. One of my favourite things about this time of year is being able to light lots of pretty candles – it just makes those autumn evenings so much more appealing. I’ve got a bit of a stash of Yankee candles and wax tarts, as well as other random candles I’ve bought or been given, so I’ve been making sure my room is full of flickering candles of an evening. The fragrances I’m burning at the moment are Fluffy Towels and Vanilla, but I’m looking forward to breaking out the Christmas candles in another month or so, and I’m hoping to try some of the new ones too!


What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Panasonic nanoe ™ Hairdryer EH-NA65-K895 Review

I was sent this hairdryer to product test a few weeks ago and to be honest, I was originally of the opinion that a hairdryer was a hairdryer and that was that. It was there to dry your hair, so what was the point in spending much on one – they all do the same job, right? Well, no actually. Your hairdryer is quite possibly one of your most used beauty gadgets, with some of us using them every day and others using it a couple of times a week. It’s the beginnings of hair styling, so you want a hairdryer that will leave you with beautiful, healthy hair.

I received the box in the post and was instantly impressed with the sleek, girly packaging in black and pink.

The actual hairdryer is black in colour, with a pink nozzle. The first great thing I noticed was how long the lead was. I hate having to be attached to the wall when drying my hair because the lead won’t stretch far enough. You wont have that trouble with this hairdryer – the lead is 2.7m, so plenty of opportunities for dancing round your room while you dry!

It comes with three different nozzles. First is the diffuser, which I’m still getting to grips with as my first use left me with rather frizzy hair! More practice needed with this one….

The next nozzle is a condenser, which concentrates the airflow, allowing you to style your hair more precisely.

Lastly, there is the quick-dry nozzle, which really impressed me. I’ll be honest, I don’t quite understand how it works – something to do with different airflows, but it works! It cut down my hair drying time by at least 5 minutes, which can make all the difference when you’re rushing to get out.

The dryer has three speed settings and three heat settings, as well as a Cool-shot button for leaving you with that extra bit of shine.

So, what makes this hairdryer so special? The nanoe ™ technology. What on earth is that I hear you ask! Well, according to Panasonic, a nanoe ™ ion retains approximately 1000 times more moisture than a negative ion, therefore supplementing the hair and scalp with additional moisture. This is meant to leave you with smooth, shiny hair and a healthier scalp. These nanoe ™ ions are released through the small opening above the nozzle.

The blurb about it is all very well, but does it actually work? I’ve been using this hairdryer for about two weeks now, and in my opinion my hair feels smoother and looks shinier and healthier than it did when using my old hairdryer. I can’t decide if my scalp feels healthier, but perhaps that’s something I will notice over time.

As with most things, there are a couple of downsides. Firstly, the £100 price tag. I’m not sure I would have the budget at the moment to set aside £100 for a hairdryer, but then saying that, it’s something I use regularly and I have spent similar amounts on tools like straightening irons. So, although it’s quite a hefty outlay, the benefits may outweigh that. The only other thing that I felt it was missing was a nice carry case. At the moment I’m keeping mine in its box, but I think it would have been a nice finishing touch to include a professional looking case to keep it in.

Overall I’m pretty impressed with this and I’m sure it will turn into one of my hair-care staple products.

This is available from Boots and Panasonic and prices range from £99 - £109.99