Thursday 28 July 2016

My Little Box - July

This is my second box of the three that Kim very kindly bought me for my birthday and it just seems to get better and better. I am even considering keeping this box on myself for month 4 instead of Glossybox, shock horror!! I am really impressed with the contents of this box and love everything in it, it’s just so on trend and in season. I also really liked the magazine this month and it also included top tips for ways to use coconut oil! Keep reading to see what I received.

Firstly I received a Stella & Dot bracelet. Mine is a gold colour with a coral tassel but I have seen other colours available. I love this colour as it goes with some of my summer outfits already and I look forward to wearing this. It’s going to look great with a tan. This retails at £18. I’ve been loving this style of bracelet recently and have seen it popping up in various stores so I am pleased to get my hands on something similar.

I absolutely love this My Little Beauty Brume De Coco Apres Soleil (RRP £10). It smells absolutely delicious and I love applying this after a day in the sun. As you probably guessed, this after sun has a lovely coconut scent. The product sinks into the skin and after applying this I felt soft and the sweet scent lingered on the skin. I have even tried popping this in the fridge and using it after a day in the sun and it is AMAZING. The items came in this adorable cotton bag illustrated. I love how handy this is and I have been topping it up with essentials and popping it in the bottom of my tote bag to keep everything together.

My FAVOURITE item in this box is the Yves Rocher Noix De Coco EDT. This is the ultimate summer scent and I have been using it religiously to the point where I am worried I am nearly out! It smells like pure coconut, not artificial in the slightest. This retails at £7 but you can get it cheaper via the Yves Rocher website.. if it wasn’t sold out! I really wanted to buy the whole coconut set but unfortunately it was also sold out on the website. I will be checking back regularly to see if I can get my hands on some more.

We then received the Merci Handy Coco Rico Hand Sanitizer which retails at €3. I often use cleansing gel in my job and love having it handy so this is the perfect size to pop in my pocket when I am at work. The one I currently use is a little bit cheap and sticky so I was so pleased to see a nice new one with a scrumptious tropical scent.

Kim really loved this Ojon - Rare Blend Oil which costs £30 for 45ml. This oil is the ultimate moisture therapy for the ends of your hair. My hair has been bleached at the ends and the summer sun appears to have made this very dry. The Ojon oil is infused with natural oils from around the world and helps to hydrate, smooth, soften, boost shine, reduce frizz. What I love about this oil is that you only need a single drop. I have nearly used my oil up now and I have really enjoyed using it. I am even considering buying the full sized product because I really love how nice it has made my hair feel.

This passport cover (RRP £11) is the perfect summer accessory and I love the summer print and tropical design. I just wish I was going on holiday so I could use it! I recently received another passport cover so when I next go away I am going to put this on James passport – I’ll be the one carrying them both anyway so why not carry them in style?

Overall I really liked this box and even preferred it over my Glossybox this month believe it or not! I really feel like the theme tied itself together really well and each product has been suitably chosen and really works well in the box. Thanks again Kim for part 2 of my birthday present! Bring on next month’s box!


Tuesday 26 July 2016

July 2016 Glossybox

When this month’s Glossybox arrived I also received My Little Box so it was like Christmas. All these goodies arriving on the same day! Glossybox day seems to come around so quickly. The first thing I saw when I opened the box was a courgette and brown rice spaghetti recipe card. This is a recipe from Eat Beautiful: Nourish Your Skin From the Inside out by Wendy Rowe. The recipe looks nice and it was a nice surprise to get this little added extra card in the box. If you’re intrigued to see what else I received, then carry on reading to see what I got..

Blank Canvas – F20 Flat Brush – Full Size £11.95
I do love trying new makeup brushes out and this comes from a brand I haven’t heard of before. This brush is colourful and is made using dense synthetic fibres. I have been using this to buff in my foundation and it works really well, just as well as my real techniques brushes! The brush feels nice to hold too and of good quality. I can see this sticking around in my makeup bag.

Hairon De-Tangle Brush – Full Size £6.99
This hairbrush is something I have wanted for a long time. Reminiscent of a mini tangle-teezer, this brush fits perfectly in my handbag. The brush fits in the palm of your hand and is really easy to use. It’s perfect for wet hair and hair extensions as it doesn’t tug or rip out the hair. I am really enjoying using this product, I just wish it was in a different colour as I can see it getting dirty in the bottom of my bag.

Hawaiian Tropic – Island Berry Lip Gloss – Full Size £6.99
A lip gloss with an SPF 25?! All my dreams have come true! There is nothing worse than sunburnt lips and now I can protect them whilst also looking glam. The tropical scent is absolutely gorgeous and this is a pleasure to apply to the lips. The formula is smooth and not sticky  and provides you with 12-hours of moisturising.  It also comes with the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Recommendation so stick this in your bag if you’re going on holiday and stay protected in style.

Utan and Tone – Nourishing Night Cream – Full Size £12.50
I was a little nervous to use this night cream with gradual tan in case I woke up completely orange so I did a small skintest on my neck before I committed to putting this on all night. I needn’t have worried, this cream gives you a subtle glow which is natural and not over the top. The formula is odourless which means you won’t end up smelling like a biscuit and also does not stain your pillow. I applied this to my face, neck and down to my chest before going to bed and woke up with a healthy glow. The cream contains anti-oxidants to help repair your skin whilst you sleep. I really like this product, just make sure you wash your hands after applying!

Icona Milano – Emotion Allowed Mascara – Full Size £13.04
This is the first waterproof mascara that I have owned so I didn’t really know what to expect from it! This mascara is water, sweat and humidity resistant so is perfect if you’re going away this summer and want to wear something that won’t end up down your face! The mascara separated my lashes nicely and didn’t cause any fallout throughout the day. I built this up layer by layer and my lashes looked plump and defined. I haven’t heard of this brand before but I will be looking into other products that they may do.

We have also had an August Sneak Peek in celebration of Glossybox 5th Birthday  where we get to choose an MUA palette. Thankfully Kim sent me the email so I could choose mine, for some reason I never get sent them! I even checked my junk mail. Very bizarre. I am looking forward to next month’s box, as it will be free due to my Glossydots!

Do you get Glossybox? Send me your reviews!


Monday 25 July 2016

Little Party Parcels*

When I think about my birthday parties as a child, I think of cake, fun games and party bags. Getting a party bag at the end of a party was probably the best part. It was always fun to see what was inside and swap and share little gifts with others. It can be expensive buying individual items for party bags so when I heard about Little Party Parcels I couldn’t wait to share with you the genius idea behind their brand. 

Little Party Parcels sell a large selection of party bags ranging from pre-filled to separate party bag goodies. All of their party bag toys are arranged per age group so you can pick the most suitable option for your child’s party. All of the fillers in the bag are sold as separate items so you can purchase as little or as many as you need without having anything go to waste. Over 99% of orders are dispatched within the next working day. Little Party Parcels very kindly sent me a range of their goody bags which I have shared with you below. I think it’s a great idea to take the pressure away from parents trying to source individual items and fill up party bags, let Little Party Parcels do that for you.

Smiley Pre-filled Party Bag – 70p 
The price range is amazing, there is something to suit all budgets and these bags cost just 70p each when filled. This bag contains some small modelling clay, a spinning top, a mini stunt glider, a jazzy blow out and a balloon. The value for money is great so even if you don’t want to spend much you can still get a decent bag to pass to the children attending your party.

Magic Pre-filled Party Bag - £1.35
This bag is great for those children interested in magic tricks. Slightly more expensive than the last this is still great value for money. The bag contains a magic set, finger flyer rocket, hair harry and a jazzy blow out.

Super Hero Pre-filled Party Bag – 90p
I loved this bag and the fact that even the party bag had a superhero theme to it. This bag contains a superhero mask, stickers, notebook, tattoo and some ultimate Spiderman candy sticks. Perfect for those children obsessed with superheros. This bag would work really well with a superhero themed party.

Colour & Create Pre-filled Party Bag - £1.80
This bag is really interesting and something I would have absolutely loved as a child. The bag contains some ironing beads, an owl notebook and eraser, a doodle pad, a colour swap crayon and a butterfly glider. This is the most expensive bag that I received but I really think it’s worth the money and at less than £2 you can’t fault it. There is no way that you’d be able to buy the individual items any cheaper than this.

Junior Pre-filled Party Bag – 95p
This bag is ideal for the younger party go-er and contains a mini tambourine, mini windmill, bubbles, animal stickers and a jet ball. Plenty of fun for all ages.

Party Sweet Bag – 95p
This bag is great for those with a sweet tooth and you could even combine it with another bag filled with toys for the ultimate party bag. This bag contains  a double dip, candy whistle, mini haribo, sherbet tub, fruity pop, refresher chew, 2x rainbow dust straws and 4 chocolate footballs. I taste tested the items and I must say, they were delicious!

You can also buy the items individually and they are great value for money. Some of the things you can buy include rabbit or car erasers – 20p, balloon head animal – 30p, bouncy putty – 35p, wooden pick up sticks – 90p and a faux fur pom-pom – 90p. You can mix and match items and create a range of bags suitable for the age range and taste preferences of your guests. I highly recommend checking Little Party Parcels out if you are hosting a party. These items are even great if you have children attending your wedding.

Do you think this is a great idea? Will you be getting your part supplies from Little Party Parcels?

*I received these items free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.

Friday 22 July 2016

Your Smoothie Your Way With Alpro*

I am a big lover of smoothies especially in the summer but I get bored quickly and often struggle to decide what to have in them. I was invited to get involved in a campaign from Alpro around around their new smoothie platform that’s launched online to help you create your perfect smoothie. I couldn’t wait to get on board and have fun with the recipe ideas. I’ve come up with 3 delicious smoothies (tried and tasted!) with the help of the Alpro Smoothie Platform which I have shared with you below so keep reading to find out more!

Using the Alpro Smoothie Platform is simple, simply click on the ‘create your smoothie’ button, choose your favourite Alpro product and click through the screens adding different ingredients as you go along. The website even suggests some great matches of things that go well. I had so much fun playing around with ingredients and came up with some delicious new smoothie recipes. Although the ingredients in these smoothies varies, the method remains the same. Simply put all of the ingredients into a blender, blitz and enjoy!

Passionate Coconut Smoothie
200ml Alpro Coconut Original
50g Fresh Peach
40g Fresh Passion Fruit
Dried Mango

This smoothie is fruity and delicious. The Alpro Coconut Original is a delicious blend of refreshing coconut with the light taste of rice and mixed with the peach, passion fruit and dried mango makes this smoothie an absolute tropical treat. I kept back some of my dried mango and a few passion fruit seeds and just added these to the top of the drink to provide the perfect garnish. This smoothie was my favourite of the three but it was a hard decision, they were all delicious!

Creamy Berry Smoothie
200ml Alpro Simply Plain
70g Raspberries
70g Strawberries

This smoothie was a lot creamier than the last using the Alpro Simply Plain and is the soya alternative to yoghurt. The Alpro Simply Plan has a mild taste and a smooth texture but us the perfect blank canvas for you to add other ingredients to. Combined with the strawberries, raspberries and raisins this created the perfect thick and creamy berry smoothie. If this is too thick for you, feel free to add a bit of water to thin the consistency a little.

Nutnana Power Smoothie
200ml Alpro Almond Unsweetened Drink
60g Banana
60g Spinach

This is the ultimate post workout smoothie and I drank this after the gym to give me an energy boost. The banana is a great source of potassium and spinach gives you a good iron hit. What I love most about this smoothie is that you can’t really taste the spinach but you know it’s in there doing some good. The Alpro Almond milk is something I drink often in coffee and this delicious nutty drink has a delicate roasted almond flavour. Not only does this drink go well with fruits, it pairs really nicely with chocolate. Why not change up the recipe by adding a spoonful of cocoa powder for a delicious chocolatey smoothie!

I really enjoyed making these Alpro based smoothies and will definitely be repurchasing the products in the future in order to make even more delicious recipes! These smoothies have gone down a storm in my house and I know I will be referring back to this post and the Alpro Smoothie Platform in the future.

Which is your favourite smoothie of the three recipes? If you’d like to create your own smoothie, head over to the Alpro Smoothie Platform and start mixing flavours! Send me your recipes, I’d love to try them!

*I received some Alpro goodies free of charge in exchange for creating some delicious recipes. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.

Wednesday 20 July 2016

Norwich Blogger Event - The Mash Tun

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about a Norwich Blogger Event so when I got an email a few months ago saying there was an event happening in July I couldn’t wait to go. This time I didn’t have to go alone and invited along fellow blogger Kim. We paid a small fee for our tickets and eagerly awaited the day to arrive. 

We turned up just before 2 and already it was very busy in The Mash Tun where the event took place. The first thing I saw when I walked in were some delicious looking cupcakes from Milk & Moss Coffee which is on St Benedicts Street in Norwich. They had been topped with the Norwich Bloggers logo and an edible flower and we could choose between Double Vanilla or Salted Caramel. All of the cupcakes were vegan and gluten free and absolutely delicious. I went for the Salted Caramel. I did find it difficult to eat without making a mess as it was such a big cake, then I noticed there were actually spoons on display that we could have used – oops! I will definitely be heading to Milk & Moss to see if I can get some cakes to take away, it’s great that they can cater for those with allergies.

I then headed over to the Lisa Angel stall as I absolutely love Lisa Angel products. They were very kindly giving each blogger a piece of jewellery! I chose a gorgeous dainty necklace as I loved the marble accent on the little triangle. They had some lovely necklaces, bracelets and earrings up for grabs and it was really generous of them to let us take home a lovely piece of jewellery. I also have a 10% discount code for you guys so if you’d like some discount, head over to Lisa Angel and use code LANWCH15 for 10% off (expires 10/09/16).

I also loved the little quirky stall, White Rabbit Gifts. I thought the pieces were adorable. I am really regretting not buying some Beanies coffee. They had a lovely selection of gifts, I wish I had brought more money with me!

I then headed for the next stall which was the Exposed stall run by the lovely ladies from Just Essentials. They kindly gave us a goodie bag which contained some goodies including false eyelashes, glue, a makeup brush and some nail varnish which I will most definitely get some use out of! I am often popping into Just Essentials for their temporary hair dye and I will be checking out the Exposed range next time too. FYFO were also displaying some of the shoes they have for sale. We also received some frizz serum from The Curl Company.

We also met the lovely Holly from Benefit in House of Fraser who gave us a gorgeous Benefit Passport Cover and Benefit Sample. The passport cover had the Golden Gate Bridge depicted on it which was ironically the last holiday I went on. I can’t wait to use this for future trips. I also spoke to a couple of lovely ladies from Jarrolds who took my details. They want to get more involved with bloggers which is great news and I’d love to be included in any future events. Kate from Arbonne was also at the event showcasing some of the items available. Kim had a massage from Neals Yard Remedies and was also lucky enough to win a lovely hamper filled with goodies!

It was lovely to speak to fellow bloggers Laura, Claire (thank you for picking up my business cards when I decided to drop them on the floor!), Kaycee, Laura, Hannah, Emma and Lucinda.  Thank you to the Norwich Bloggers , Hannah, Justine and Courteney who kindly organised this event. I really enjoyed meeting new bloggers and networking with brands.

Have you been to a blogger event lately?


Tuesday 19 July 2016

'For Goodness Shakes' Protein Coconut Water*

Being on a diet, specifically Slimming World, means that when I want to refuel during or after a workout I have to waste a lot of calories (or syns) on a powdery protein shake. Often these protein drinks aren’t refreshing and I find myself trying to drink them as soon as possible. It seems such a waste! When I heard about the For Goodness Shakes Protein Coconut Water range I knew that I needed to try them as soon as possible and share them with you all. I have already had a great response on Instagram of fellow Slimmers wanting a similar product!

For Goodness Shakes Protein Coconut Water is a new range of deliciously-flavoured soft drinks which give you a protein boost, zero fat and no added sugar. The refreshing blend of coconut water and spring water, boosted with 10g Whey Protein Isolate is just what I crave when I’ve been in the gym. It comes in two refreshing flavours, Tropical and Orange & Mango. I received the Tropical and Mango & Orange flavours. These shakes are available exclusively in ASDA for just £1.99. My Gym just happens to be right next to an Asda which is an added bonus meaning I can pop in and pick up one of these before I start my workout.

I thought both flavours were fruity and refreshing but my favourite was the Mango & Orange flavour. Adding the extra protein into my workout pushes me to go for longer and I find myself doing more reps at a higher weight. The bonus is this is essentially water; you can drink this during your workout and it won’t sit heavy in your stomach. You can also drink this alongside a meal or keep it for on the go. Not only does it hydrate you, the protein will help you to grow and maintain your lean functional muscles when used as part of a balanced diet and exercise plan.

The fact that these are just 52 calories is mind blowing compared to some of the high calorie protein drinks I have had in the past especially as they taste so nice. There is no harm in adding in extra protein around your training and many people don’t wish to take this in the form of a supplement. This drink is refreshing and you’d never even know you were getting a 10g protein hit as an added extra. I love that this low calorie drink can be incorporated into my diet and I have been looking for a low calorie protein drink for what seems like forever!

Overall, I was really impressed with these drinks and they give my work outs that extra boost that I sometimes need and I don’t have to ‘waste’ 100’s of calories drinking a powdery bland protein shake. Find out more information about the For Goodness Shakes range over on their website. Have you seen these around? Will you be trying them out?

*I received these drinks free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way,

Sunday 17 July 2016

Book Review: Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie*

This year I told myself I would get into reading more inspired by friends on the Goodreads app clocking up book after book and me falling way behind. I decided to attempt to read Game of Thrones which is by no means an easy read and not something you can put down and pick up again weeks later, you simply lose track. Being stuck in a book I didn’t want to read put me off for a while so recently I have been choosing books that are a lot more easier to follow and teen fiction falls under that category.

I was kindly sent the book Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie. Sophie is the award winning author of a range of teen thrillers including this book. She has also written some romance literature and a novel for adults called Close My Eyes. This edition of the book was brought out in order to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of its original release date with a fresh new cover. Girl, Missing sold over 150000 copies in the UK alone and has won eight awards. The book touches on issues regarding adoption, parenting skills and kidnapping. This edition contains exclusive content from Sophie and I recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read the original.

The story follows Lauren, aged 14, trying to find out the truth about her adoption and the search for her real parents. It takes place in North London but as you read on Lauren travels to America. I was hooked on the story from page one and remained gripped throughout the fast paced storyline as it unfolded. I actually finished the book in 3 days reading this in my lunch breaks and in the evening with a cup of tea. Even at aged 26 I found this book interesting and really enjoyed it and I already have a couple of friends older than me that want to borrow it themselves. Each chapter is short and fast and this book is very hard to put down.

I must admit I hadn’t read this book before when it was first released but I am now keen to read the two follow on books from the series and other titles by Sophie McKenzie. Teen fiction is nice and easy to follow and not a chore to read, the way Sophie has written this book keeps you gripped.

You can purchase this edition of Girl, Missing from Waterstones for £7.99.

*I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Gin Festival Norwich 2016*

Having been to the Norwich Beer Festival a few times (and not really been a fan of beer!) I was intrigued when I heard that Norwich were also having a Gin Festival and thought this sounded more like my cup of tea, or gin as it were. I was kindly invited along for the day by Laura, the events assistant and chose to attend the Saturday afternoon session on 9th July at 12:30pm. I brought my boyfriend along who doesn’t like gin but is great at taking photos so he had his uses, and kindly took some of the photos you will see in this post for me – although the room was dark so apologies!

Gin Festival  holds a large number of events up and down the country and is the UK’s original biggest and best gin festival. The event was held in Open Norwich and I couldn’t wait to enjoy a few G&Ts! As complete gin novices we were assured that there would be something we would like as there were over 100 different varieties of gin to sample.

 We arrived about half an hour early and picked up my entry passes on the door. Tickets usually cost £7.50 per adult and include one of Gin’s iconic copa glasses, free to take home and a brochure full of information on all the gins you can try, a little about each company and the suggested garnish. Drinks tokens cost £5 each and include tonic and a fresh garnish and we were very lucky to be provided with 4 tokens. 

The first drink I tried set me back 2 tokens but as a gin novice I was assured that having a cocktail would be a nice way to ease me in. I went for a cocktail called the Drunken Tulip which consisted of Black Shuck gin, Prosecco, pomegranate juice, elderflower cordial and fresh lemon. It was absolutely delicious and nice to have it made fresh in front of me. It didn’t taste alcoholic at all which is what I like when it comes to gin, I can’t handle anything too strong! 

The atmosphere in the room was great, everyone was out to have a good time. It was fairly busy but you could comfortably move around the room and didn’t have to wait too long for a drink which was good. There was live music and also some magicians walking around. I didn’t realise how big the room was at Open, this building used to be a bank! 

There was a couple of food stalls but I wish there was a couple more about as the choice was fairly limited. We decided to have something to eat from ‘The Feed’. We chose a brie and onion sandwich which we then had toasted. It was really nice and just filled a hole during the few hours we spent at the festival. They also sold rocky road which looked delicious!

We then sampled two more gins. The first one was the Ely Dark Chocolate gin and the brand was launched in 2012 on Ely Market . This gin was smooth with a subtle taste of cocoa and advised it was best served with orange juice. James really enjoyed this but I wasn’t too keen on it, it was a little bit too sweet for me. I decided to try a Sloe Motion Damson Gin which had a strong plum flavour with a hint of cherry and almonds. I served this with tonic water and a sprig of thyme. I much preferred my drink however it did get a bit strong towards the bottom, I don’t think I could have drank many of these! It was really fun looking through the gin booklet and choosing which drinks we wanted to try. At £5 a drink including your ice, tonic and garnish I thought this was quite reasonable, you did get a large glass after all!

There were a number of masterclasses going on throughout the day and we managed to get a seat in the Adnams Gin one. Bonnie who is the manager of the Adnams store on Unthank Road in Norwich led the session which I found very interesting. We learned about the history of Adnams gin and a little about how it is made. The gin is made with East Anglian Barley which is unique to Adnams gin. We were able to smell the beer wash that it was made from and also got a sample of some Copperhouse gin which was nice to try!

The Gin Festival was sponsored by Fever-Tree tonic. Fever Tree was founded in 2005 and is free from artificial sweeteners, preservatives and flavourings.

Overall we both had a really nice time at the Gin Festival and I would definitely go again if they were to have another event. It was a really sociable fun event and would be a great place to catch up with friends and sample the various gins! Have you ever been to a gin festival?

Find a local Gin Festival near you and have an amazing time.

*I received free entry to the Gin Festival in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.
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