Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Milestone Hotel | Afternoon Tea

Every now again there is nothing better than a real or should I say a 'proper' afternoon tea.  Lots of places seem to have jumped on the popular bandwagon of serving this age old English tradition. On Sunday the hubby took me out for a long over due afternoon tea.  After a little googling looking for top afternoon teas locations in London...the hubby found The Milestone Hotel.  Heard of it ... No?  Join the club.

The Milestone Hotel if I had to describe it,  is a traditional oldie worldly boutique hotel. Sat opposite Kensington Park not too far from Harroads and Harvey Nics it is a real gem.  Inside it feels like a set from Downton Abbey.  Its quaint drawing room style room makes you feel very posh indeed.  You could almost imagine gentlemen in dickie bows strolling around and stepping into the room to have their cigars

The nice thing about the Milestone is you have to book in advance, you cannot just walk in off the street and request it.  Plus there is a very smart dress code...it is Kensington after all!

For our tea we requested the champagne tea. An tradition afternoon tea plus an half bottle of champagne and strawberries with cream.  There are quite a few versions to choose from, vegetarian, prince and princesses teas for the kids and the gentleman's tea which includes whisky drinks. 

You are treated to a wide array of tea choices and overwhelmed by cakes and sandwiches.   It's not a cheap tea but they treat you like royalty.  And the standards are very high. 

If you have a sweet tooth, you'll be spoilt for choice of what you can have.   If I had to recommend a place for afternoon tea, The Milestone would come first... I've had a few in my time and this is the best!!

Want to see what The Milestone Hotel has to offer, then click HERE for their website.

What's your favourite part of afternoon tea....cakes, sandwiches, scones?  I think the warm scones are my favourite.


Sunday, 29 March 2015

Life Lately #03.15

Well it's nearly the end of March already.  How can this be???  If you're new to the blog, my life lately posts are a once a month series where I basically tell you what's going on in my life.  Kind of like what's in my hand bag but way more personal.  You can read February HERE and January HERE.

Getting Help
If you have read my blog recently, you will know I have been having a battle with anxiety/depression /stress.  I visited my doctor, who was very good to me.  I told my need to know people at work and it's been great... they have been very supportive which I have really appreciate.  It feels good that they have taken me seriously, plus it may or may not make changes to our department.  We all are quite stressed and I think my openness and honesty has made others see the light.  I've made a vow to myself to no longer stay late as it is not healthy, plus it affects a lot more of my life.  See below...

Following on from the depression part above, my motivation for exercise and clean eating has plummeted.  I think it's a side affect of not really caring or having the actual time to care.  My belly now feels like it's got a spare tyre attached to it.  I've been eating semi good, but biscuits and chocolate plus a Chinese have been my friends.  As for exercise I haven't moved much to be honest...and I'm annoyed at myself for that.  I need to get my arse in gear!

I'm excited to announce I have got my first ever sewing machine!  Not exciting for some but for me I've been lusting after one for quite a while.  I haven't used a machine since about year 9 of secondary school... so quite a while.  I only got it yesterday and I've already managed to sewing some bits using a donated old shirt from the hubby.  I can't wait to sew more .... what to do what to do????  I'm also doing a small sewing class after work in April with a company called Sew Over It.  They do a mixture of classes depending on skills etc and they are small groups of about 8-10 people.  Really looking forward to that.... bring it on.

New Blog
I was looking at my blog thinking there is quite a lot going on.  Food, fitness beauty, need I go on.  Well I've decided to make a second blog dedicated to the creative side of me.  Baking, sewing...etc.  Obviously it's new so we are kind of in the construction phase but I think it'll be good.  Twitter, Instagram and Bloglovin' are all up and running.  Just need to build my site and write some posts.  I will write a future blog post with instructions soon!

Out With The Old
I don't know if it's due to spring coming but I really want to spring clean.  Not just my house, but everything in it.  I keep staring at my makeup thinking 'if I don't use you, I should ditch you'.  It's also the same with my clothes and random house decor.  I own too much of everything and I really want to down size.  Who wants to buy my makeup collection from me?

Tea My Dear
Today I'm off with the hubby for afternoon tea.  I haven't had a 'proper' afternoon tea for ages.  We're going to the Milestone Hotel in Kensington...posh hey.  I do like a good old afternoon tea....finger sandwiches, scones cream and jam....CAKE!!!  I've never heard of the Milestone before but I'll take pictures and share with you later on.                            


p.s. ...in my next life I want to come back as a cat!!


Saturday, 28 March 2015

New Fitness DVDs

I love working out in my own living room.  No hefty gym fees are involved which is a blessing.  All you need is a mat for the floor (mine are wooden so it's a must), some hand weights and a TV/DVD player... then you're ready to go.   Simples!!!

I've added two new fitness DVDs to my collection and I thought I'd share and review what they are.

Charlotte's 3 Minute Belly Blitz | Buy HERE
I'd heard such excellent things about this fitness DVD plus the Amazon reviews had nothing but praise for it.  I also got a personal recommendation from a work colleague who raved about it.  SOLD!  The easiest part of this is slipping it into the DVD player, from there onward you will be dripping like you are in a sauna and completely out of breath.  If you are a fan of cardio and HIIT which happens in short bursts only lasting 3 minutes (yep 3 minutes...  that's right!) then buy this now!!!!   Charlotte has two trainers with her doing both hard and easy options of the exercises and there are 12 workouts which are 3 minutes long.  You can either do them all or pick and chose what you want.  Now Charlotte looks hot right.... So it obviously works given time.

Davina 7 Minute Fit | Buy HERE
Before I got this one I had recently got the 'Fit in 15',  which I loved.  Due to loving that one I had no hesitation in popping this one in my Amazon basket thinking it would similar.  In all honesty I hate this DVD. Davina and her trainer just don't get well plus the exercises are not going to work you into a sweat.  This is perfect if you are just starting or returning to exercise,  but if you are already quite fit.... Give it a miss.  You'll be bored... I live Davina and all her other fitness DVD where she was joined by her trainers Mark and Jackie... There was good chemistry and flow but this just falls flat.  I barely broke a sweat which isn't a good sign in my books.  This gets a thumbs down from me which is a shame.

Do you work out at home??  Got any favourites you like to wat


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Home Made Popcorn + Chocolate

We all love a cheeky snack don't we?  Sometimes it doesn't have to be a naughty snack,  but it can be a healthy one with a little something naughty added to it.  I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate and I also love popcorn.  Oh yes chocolate and popcorn two of my favourite treats yum yum.

To me popcorn isn't too bad, trust me there are worse things you can eat.... I could name plenty if you'd let me.  Anyway... I am a sucker for salty popcorn goodness.  It is seriously addicting.  Instead of buying a packet of ready made popcorn I opted to make my own.  It was a little more time  consuming but we'll worth it and fun!

To make this all you need is... 

* A large sauce pan and a lid for it. 
* One TBS of cooking oil (you can use anything - except olive) 
* A bag of kernels
* Some salt (optional) 
* Chocolate of your choice - I used dark :-)
* Another pan, hot water, a heat proof bowl plus a wooden spoon (this will be your banmarie)
* A large baking tray

How to make it is easy.

In your pan,  place your TBS of oil and add about 1/2 cup of the kernels (more if you desire).  Make sure the kernels get a light coating of oil. Then pop on your lid.. Cook it on a medium heat.

You'll soon hear popping.  Every now again pick the pan up,  holding down the lid and give it a shake and replace back on the heat.   The is no 'ready' time just until the is no more popping or the popcorn is busting out of the pan... You can always lift the lid to see.. but be careful.

Take off heat and leave for a few minutes. Then lift the lid and sprinkle on your salt.  Replace the lid and shake.   You can now eat it if you want but I'm covering mine in chocolate.

Melt your chocolate in a banmarie,  whilst it's melting place your popcorn on a baking sheet as flat as possible.  Once the chocolate had melted you can you use a fork to dribble on your chocolate.  Once your happy with the way it looks... Leave it to cool.

You're done..... now eat!!!!


Monday, 23 March 2015

Getting Crafty #Crochet

I love to be creative and make things.  I think there is nothing more satisfying than building something with your bare hands....  Be it cakes,  a crochet snood or doing a DIY on some old jars with glitter. More on the latter later on.  In the above picture I was  making a snood for my mum.  It looks a jumbled mess but trust me the end result was lovely. 

I have gradually built up  collection of yarns, hooks and books.  These are some of favourite books and they are great,  but I personally think YouTube is the best place to see crochet at work.  There is only so much a book can show. 

When it comes to crochet I love that I can make something useful.  I can see it and it doesn't take forever to see a result.   I find it spurs me on to work faster.   The snood I'm wearing below is something I knocked up in two days. 

I made it with the help of Simply Hooked YouTubes channel (link HERE) and the cowl snood video is HERE.   Anyone can make this as her instructions are clear and easy for a complete novice to understand.  I did it... so you can.  You just need a ball or yarn,  a large hook and YouTube!!  The snood I'm wearing and my mum's one are the same stitch. Once you get a stitch in your head,  you just want to keep doing it over and over to perfect it!! 

I think my next project will a a granny square blanket of some sort.   Fun times a head. 



Sunday, 22 March 2015

Short Bread Biscuits

Short Bread Biscuits are my ultimate favourite biscuit treat, closely followed by biscotti.  I did some baking for work to raise a bit  a cash for comic relief.  These are yummy and very easy to make and everyone seems to love them.

What you need....

250g/8oz butter (which is softened at room temp)
180g/12oz Plain Flour
110g/4oz Caster Sugar

You could throw in chocolate chips if you wish to make them even more yummy. A little FYI,  you'll need extra flour and sugar for later on.  You need to preheat your oven to gas mark 5/190 (mine is a fan oven).

In a big bowl cream together your butter and sugar.  Wooden spoon,  hands or hand mixer work well.

Once creamed together add your flour a small amount at a time.  Using your hands to mix works best due to the warmth of them.  Keep adding until you've added it all. By now you should have a dough formed.

On a clean flat service,  dust with a little flour and with a rolling pin.... Get rolling. You want the dough to be between 0.5 to 1cm thick or they will crumble when cooked.

With cookie cutters or a just a knife,  create your shapes.  Place them on a lined oven tray with good spacing between them.  Decorate with a folk if you wish and sprinkle on a little caster sugar. Then pop in the oven for 13 minutes.

Take them out and let them cool before munching on them.  I'm tempted to make these again and half dip them in chocolate hmmm!!!

Side note.... I know these are not very healthy but I find baking therapeutic :-) Enjoy x



Thursday, 19 March 2015

Seventeen Miracle Matte Face Powder

Now who out there does not like a miracle face powder which is as cheap as chips??  I recently tucked in to my second pan of the Seventeen Miracle Matte Pressed Powder.  I spyed two of my work colleagues using this a while ago, so I bought my own obviously.  And as they say the rest is history. 

The key things that draw me to this is:
(1) it's a pressed powder - very handy if you're on the go like me... less mess.
(2) it's mattifity plus it's oil free - always something I look for in a powder as I get a tad shiny throughout the day.
(3) the price tag!!

What I like about this is it doesn't look cakey and leaves a thin layer on the skin.  However it can be a little dusty when you swirl your brush in to it,  so hold your breath.  There is a limited range of shades mainly consisting of light shades,  which is disappointing as darker toned skin is not really catered for which is a shame.

There is a bold claim that this will keep you shine free for 16 hours.  Unfortunately that is a little lie as I have to top up now and again.  I'm not sure if any powder in existence can do that to be honest.  I like that It comes with a cheap powder puff which is helpful if you enjoy using that kind of thing. 

There are a few negatives but overall I like this,  as I said this is my second pan so it's a good drug store high Street powder if you're in the market to try something new. 

Available HERE from Boots in three shades now for a shocking price tag of just £3.99. Start saving now folks!!


Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Lush Haul

I think it's been forever since I went Lush shopping, I cannot remember the last time I went,  as it has been that long.  I recently started using some bath bombs I got last Christmas which I think has put me in the mood for more Lush goodies.   Here is my mini haul.

D'Fluff Strawberry Shaving Soap | LINK
Never tried this one before and it was a 'what the heck lets try it' purchase.   It looks a little strange and feels just as weird too.... Plus it's bright pink and smells nice.  I think I need to do a full review soon as I don't think it's had much blogger attention.

I Love Juicy Shampoo | LINK
Tried and tested and very much loved.  It's the perfect clarifying shampoo if you feel like your scalp/roots has a build up of products.  Leaves your hair shining and squeaky clean.  I just wish it was not so expensive.  I may have to buy myself a big bottle after I finish this mini one.

Creamy Candy Bubble Bar | LINK
I'll never get sick of this... Crumble up in to the bath and you will be in bubble heaven.  Smells great and a little goes a long way.   I get quite a few uses out of this.  The hubby gives it the thumbs up also!!!

I feel like another trip to Lush again soon to pick up a new bottle of I Love Juicy.  Is there anything you recommend I get my paws on?



Sunday, 15 March 2015

Dealing With Life

Stress and Anxiety - How I Cope?

It's been a while since I've felt the urge to write up a post or even make a YouTube video.  Writing posts takes time and focus .... and lately I've had neither of them.  I work in the finance industry...and around this time of the year it's audit time.  It can be very much hands on deck and go go go throughout the entire process.  So as you can imagine my work life has been a bit rocky.

Another reason for my absence is I'm currently battling a period of depression and anxiety.  I'd been feeling a little low and I could see and feel the signs that depression was on the horizon.  But I just carried on like a trooper as that's the way I am.  Then wham bang hello it's here sitting on my shoulders like the devil itself.  I'm trying to self treat myself with down time (and alcohol), but I know a trip to see the Doc may be on the cards.

Anyway let's talk about depression.  I'm mainly writing this to help myself and to talk about it, but it may help someone else out there who just like me things have got on top of them.  Depression is not a moment of "oh I feel miserable for a day".  It's goes deeper than that.  Mental issues are very untalked about...but it is more common than you will realise.  It has this taboo of being a weakness in a person but I can assure you it isn't.  Some of the most confidence people can have depression....Robin Williams is one person to mention.  See! ANYONE CAN SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION.  Got that...good.

When I had my first depression anxiety episode, I was shocked I had it as I didn't expect to be diagnosed with it.  I actually initially thought I had a brain tumour as I felt that unwell in the mind.  But to be eventually told depression anxiety was the reason for the way I felt ...it all made sense.  I was treated medically and made a complete recovery.  However I have always been weary of it ever since.

Now, due to the fact I know some of the signs I can firmly say I am currently suffering from depression.  The symptoms for depression and anxiety are long as they range from person to person (click HERE for depression and HERE for anxiety...the Mind website which shows you a list of common symptoms) Some of mine range from tearfulness, restless, bad concentration level, agitation, low self esteem and basically thinking what's the point about most things in life.  Depression is a horrible place and left and ignored it can have an awful out come.

Previously I had the comment "what reason do you have to be depressed?" People don't realise it can strike anyone and it shouldn't be joked or taken lightly.  Comments like that are hurtful and many don't understand and don't chose to understand depression.  Here is some guidance from me....

* Don't be afraid to ask for help.  Go to your doctor...think about it...  you're not the first and you're not the last person to suffer from this.  They won't judge you, even though you think they will.  Write a list of your feelings and take it with you if you are forgetful.  And be honest...they are there to help.

* Accept the help.  I was reluctant to take the medication to begin with,  which I was prescribed as I thought I was a failure for resorting to medication.  There is nothing wrong with popping a pill to get back on track (doctor prescribed ones anyways).   Hormones and chemicals in the body need resetting from time to time and pills will help.

* If you want to to talk to someone anonymously try Mind or the Samaritans.  They are trained and are there to support you.

* There is absolutely NO need to be ashamed.  There is nothing wrong with and it's normal....remember that!!

* Help is out there and you don't need to suffer alone. Seek help.  Please.

* Be open with your loved ones (if you can) you need a support network around you.  Tell your employers too as they may restructure your work to ease up on the pressure on you.

* Ditch negativity as depression anxiety feeds on it.  Is your mate being unsupportive?  Well they aren't your real friend, so bin them.  You will realise who your real friends are at times like this.

* This isn't the end....depression anxiety is treatable and can be managed.  Never think there isn't a way out because that is NOT true.

If you know of someone suffering from depression anxiety give them all the support they need.  You will really make their day.  Plus smile at strangers... you might be smiling at someone at rock bottom and your smile may lift their hopes.

And if you are suffering...you're not alone and there is always support of there x


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

New To My Makeup Bag

Last Friday was pay day and what better way to celebrate than a trip to the beauty aisles of Boots.  I also went cray cray in Superdrug but I'll post that post later just spread it out.  At Boots it looks like I went Soap and Glory mad, but there a great 3 for 2 offer on and I haven't tried anything from their beauty line.   Here is what I got.

Soap and Glory Glow All Out | LINK
I initially thought this was a highlighter but apparently it is in fact a luminising face powder.  Isn't that basically the same thing? Anyways this is a pinky toned micro shimmery highlighting powder -  which can be used all over the face not just to highlight key areas.  I'm the not the best at highlighting as I usually can't be asked,  but since getting this I have been loving it. 

Soap and Glory Solar Powder | LINK
I think this is one of the most talked about bronzers out there.  I blame watching Lily Pebbles for this purchase, as she made me do it.  Well not really,  but yet again like highlighting bronzing up my cheeks is never very high on my requirements list.   But this powder makes it so easy to achieve.  The duo bronzer has a dark matte shade and a lighter slightly shimmery golden companion.  Use individually or swirl together,  you'll get a lovely sun-kissed look to your face.  Love it.

Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick - Bashful | LINK
This was free SandG item in the 3 for 2 offer and I love it.  It's the perfect everyday pink.   Not too sticky and glossy which is great for me as I hate sticky glossy glosses. Lasting power is excellent too.  I can get away without reapplying for a few hours. Oh and by the way it smells yummy too!

Seventeen Miracle Matte Pressed Powder | LINK
This is a repurchase.  Why?  Because it's good and cheap. It claims to keep oiliness at bay for 16 hours,  which is a tad of an exaggeration from Seventeen.  However I do believe it works,  just not for 16 hours!!  I have to reapply throughout the day and it is a thin passed powder that doesn't look to heavy on the skin.

Rimmel Brow This Way - Dark Brown | LINK
I've always been fascinated with these mascara for the brows. Benefit sell them but to be honest I weren't going to pay an arm and a leg for that one.  Sometimes cheaper alternatives work just as well.  The dark brown shade (pictured) is the perfect match for my hair shade and you can really see the difference once this is applied.  Word of warning though,  remove excess product from the brush first.

Do you new have any new items in your makeup bag?


Monday, 2 March 2015

Making Your Lipstick Last

I like to rock out a bold lip every now and again.  I'm one of those ladies who likes to apply my makeup at 8am and still want it to look just as good at 5.30pm...  but sadly that's not always the case - especially with lipstick.  However the correct prep and layering can work wonders at making a look last.

I've put together a little guide of how you can get your lip look to last the duration of the day.  You could be cheeky and cheat by using a lip stain like Benetint or Lip and Cheek Stain from The Body Shop.... But I'm not going to.  All you have to remember is layering helps. 

Prepping The Base

Preparing your lips is the key stage of making a lipstick look last.  If you're about to paint a wall you make sure it's smooth and the holes are filled in right??  It is the same with lips.  Take a toothbrush (a clean one) and gently rub your lips or you could use a lip scrub.  There are plenty of cool receipes where you could make your own.  Sugar and olive oil or sugar and lemon juice...  That's just two. Or you could buy one...  I like the Bubblegum scrub from Lush. 

Once exfoliated,  remove the excess scrub and pat dry with a tissue.  When dry apply a lip balm to moisturise the base.  It doesn't have to be a fancy balm... Steer clear of think glossy balms. Chapstick is what I use.

Now the prep is done, go apply the rest of your face as this will give the balm time to sink in.

The Lipstick

Another key part of this is to use a lip pencil.  Use it to fill and line the lips.  Some pencils these days are so good they actually look like lipsticks. Once you're all penciled in apply lipstick.  You could use a brush or apply straight from the bullet. Remember to (1) find a lipstick and a pencil that are a similar shade and (2) pop them in your bag for emergency touch ups.

Apply Lipcote

You could leave the lipstick with out applying this but any extra help is much appreciated right??  Apply Lipcote over your lipstick,  it'll taste strange but it works.

I hope these tips help you.



Sunday, 1 March 2015

Sunday Reading | The Glam Guide

On Sundays I like to chill in my pjs and read a good book.  I do like a bit of mushy lovey dovey fiction, but there is nothing quite like reading a book that feels like your best friend has written it.  When I found out Fleur De Force was writing a book I was sceptical.  There was the whole controversial issue of The Girl Online - Zoe 'Zoella' Snug having a ghost writer which she hadn't declared, plus with Tanya Burr she had help for Love Tanya.

Knowing Fleur was honest from the beginning and even vlogged her writing journey, it left me intrigued and wanting to know more about what she was creating.  I've been a stalker of Fleur for years on YouTube and blogger.  I like her style, manner and whole lovely smiley way.  So in all fairness I'd probably like her book right??

Oh yes.

Firstly lets talk front cover.  Rose gold writing - check!  Gorgeous water colour art work - stunning!  Cute Piglet picture - all say awwwww.  The book screams style before you even open the cover.  Inside she covers topics that every girl/woman will have questions about.  Be it hair, travel, fashion, beauty, youtube, health and fitness.  Her book will keep you occupied for hours as it jammed packed with information.  The illustrations and photography inside are very stylist and I love the water colour / light pastel shades used throughout.

Each section is full to the brim of interesting tips.  I'm 31 year old and I'm learning a thing or two from this book.  Who knew there was a technique to jean shopping?  I usually go with what fits.  Fleur gives the low down on the dos and don'ts with handbags, accessorising, shopping in the sales...you name it.  I really like that at the end of each chapter there is a section of 10 Quick Tips which is such a great idea.

I like that the book is targeted at many age ranges.  You can be young teen, needing first date guidance, tips with makeup or an older woman needing travelling tips or relationships advice.  It isn't solely aimed at one age group, so I think many of you will enjoy it.

If I could meet Fleur ... I'd shake her hand and tell her she has done an excellent job with The Glam Guide.  Her hard work and dedication shows and her knowledge is overflowing from start to finish.

You can buy The Glam Guide right HERE on Amazon.  I highly recommend it (I wasn't paid to say that).


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