Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Dyson Supersonic Blow Dry Review

Last week I met up with my friend and fellow blogger Kim and she told me all about her experience having had a blow dry with the new Dyson hair dryers. I thought it sounded amazing, and Kim very kindly passed my details on to Lydia who then contacted me.

I couldn’t wait to meet Lydia and have a lovely professional blow dry with the new product, something I had heard of but never had the pleasure of seeing in action. I arrived at John Lewis in Norwich where Lydia greeted me and sat me down. She showed me the Dyson Supersonic and explained to me how it worked. It retails at £299.99 which is definitely an investment but is definitely something you can add to your Christmas or birthday list. I was sceptical at first, but trust me this product will change your beauty routine.


First off, Lydia dampened my hair and showed me how quick it was to then dry it again. My hair can take on average 45 minutes to an hour to dry, however with the Dyson I was able to get it done in less than 15 minutes. Lydia explained that there are 3 different attachments which are all magnetic and can easily be rotated depending on the angle you want to dry your hair. I tried all of the attachments out to see what styles I could create. The hair dryer itself is extremely light, I was surprised at how easy it was to hold and move around.

Another thing that surprised me was how quiet it was in comparison to my usual hair dryer. The motor has been placed in the handle which not only makes it easier to hold, the weight is balanced. The microprocessor measures and regulates air temperature 20 times every second, keeping the temperature under control. This meant it wasn’t as hot as regular dryers but due to the better and faster airflow this allowed for quicker drying times. Heat and power settings can be adjusted simply by clicking a button on the back. There are 4 heat and 3 speed settings. The surfaces of the attachments stay cool even after use so there is no need to worry about children grabbing them after use and hurting themselves. It also means you can blow dry your hair right to the root without burning your scalp.


After finding out about all the features and accessories it was time for me to put the Dyson Supersonic to the test. We decided to go with the diffuser head which would give the effect of beautiful beach waves. I cannot believe how simple it was to create this look. Firstly I tipped my head upside down, I then placed sections of the hair into the diffuser nozzle and once dry I was left with voluminous waves. The best thing about this dryer was that I had no frizz either. I loved the natural effortless style it created with barely any effort put in from myself. The cable is also 2.7m long meaning I could tip my head upside down and give myself plenty of space away from the plug in order to create this look


Overall, I really enjoyed using the Dyson Supersonic, it is definitely one for the Christmas list! As you can see in the photo above, my beach waves stayed in all day, in fact they even looked a bit better after as they settled more! Thank you to Lydia for having me at John Lewis for this blow dry. You can find Lydia on Instagram here. What do you think?


*This post is not sponsored however I got to try the product out for free in exchange for this review.
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Thursday, 10 August 2017

Pulsin Snack Bar Brownies Review*

I’m always looking for new and healthy snacks so when I heard about Pulsin snack bars, I knew I needed to try them. Pulsin make natural protein bars, protein powders and healthy treats. I was lucky enough to receive a range of Pulsin raw choc brownies.


Firstly I noticed the packaging, I thought it was bright and eye catching. As part of its 10th anniversary, Pulsin re-branded all of its snack bars, brownies and protein bars and I think they did a great job. They use minimal packaging and their business is powered with 100% renewable energy! I received a few different flavours to try. One thing I can say is that they all tasted really good. Although you can tell they’re healthier than having a regular brownie you do still get the full flavours. These are packed with raw cacao and really satisfied my cravings for a chocolate fix without indulging in a ton of calories.


Pulsin products are 100% natural, gluten free and suitable for vegetarians. They are low in sugar and contain no artificial colours, additives or GM ingredients. There is also a range of vegan, dairy-free, organic, soya free and paleo products so there really is something for everyone and they’re good for all of the family. The products aim to give you a sustained energy release, strengthen your immune system and make you feel fuller for longer.


I would have to say my favourite bar was the Peanut Choc Chip Raw Brownie. This had a nutty taste with a hint of chocolate but it wasn’t too bitter. It was so flavoursome, I actually ate mine in place of having a high calorie dessert and I didn’t feel deprived in the slightest. It was nice snacking knowing I was eating a blend of magnesium, fibre, vitamins and minerals. You can buy a case of 9 for £13.59.

View the whole range at Pulsin. What do you think of these?

*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
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Friday, 4 August 2017

My Little Box July 2017 - Seashell Edition

This month’s My Little Box was a complete surprise to me having avoided/missed any spoilers and hints leading up to delivery day. I really didn’t know what to expect but did enjoy opening the outer packaging to discover a lovely nautical coloured box with the theme ‘seashells’.


Firstly we received these little pack of note cards with envelopes to encourage us to ”go offline”, put down the phones/laptops and instead write a note to a friend. I can’t remember the last time I actually wrote a letter to someone so it was nice to receive these and I will try and put them to good use.


The My Little Beauty item this month was this amazing Sandy Shore Body Scrub. I love everything about this, even down to the gorgeous packaging. This scrub is made from Polynesian Sand, Sea Salt Crystals, Tiare Flower and Seaweed Oils. It does a great job at gently exfoliating dull dead skin cells from the body, leaving skin feeling soft and supple. The scent of this is lovely and I am going to be pretty gutted when it runs out.


I really like these summer night candle holders and tealights. These paper based candle holders are supposed to be used outside, however they recommend putting the tealights into glass containers before popping them into the bags. The tealights are unscented. I like the design on the bag and the metal hangers that come with them mean that you can even hang them up on a tree branch or suchlike. Al fresco dining accessory at its finest!


This seashell sweet is quite intriguing. I heard it was the French equivalent to a freddo, not quite in my eyes! The shell was not edible so to actually eat the sweet without putting the shell into my mouth did prove difficult and if I’m honest I got bored of trying to eat it. The flavours were nice though and I do like that it was served this way.


This shower gel has a lovely scent to it and I loved the packaging, I just wish it was a little bit bigger. I gave this to my sister so hopefully she enjoyed using it!


I really like this Institut Karite Rose Mademoiselle Shea Hand Cream. Although it does not really fit into the seashell theme, it is a nice travel sized product to take along on those short breaks. The cream uses shea butter as a key ingredient and has a great scent of fresh roses. I find it leaves my hands incredibly soft and does not have that sticky residue that some creams have. I will definitely be getting my use from this.


This travel pouch pillow was one of the best things in the box in my opinion this month! You can either use it as a waterproof travel bag, or you can blow it up and use it as a travel pillow. Brilliant! The slogan says “Sea, Nap and Sun” so is perfect for this month’s theme. I just need to plan a beach trip for an excuse to use it! It will comfortable fit a couple of items in, I was thinking some sun lotion and some cooling spritz would be fine.


What do you think of the July My Little Box? I can’t wait to see what they come up with this month.


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Monday, 31 July 2017

New York Day 5 - Philadelphia & The Rocky Steps

Day 5 in New York isn’t technically about New York as you may have guessed from the title. Today we decided that we would extend our trip a bit further afield and head to Philadelphia. I am sure there are loads of things to do here and we probably missed a huge chunk but mainly we wanted to run up the ‘Rocky’ steps and eat Philly Cheesesteaks. I also wanted to casually bump into my long term favourite band, CKY however this did not happen sadly. We looked into various modes of transport but the cheapest option coming in at just $20 each was to get a Greyhound bus which would take around 2 hours to get us there. We booked our tickets online the day before and were able to collect them from the bus station the next day.


We left nice and early and made our way via subway to the bus station. We printed our tickets, went to the correct gate and got in the queue which then led us straight onto the bus. The Greyhound bus was clean, warm and even had plug sockets and wifi to make the journey all the more enjoyable. The 2 hours went very fast, mainly because I fell asleep but we were in Philadelphia before we knew it. We got off the bus and started to walk towards the information centre. We passed a food market on the way which looked amazing from the outside, but I will go back to that. After roughly finding out where the Rocky steps were, we first decided to get tickets for a free tour near to the building that houses the Liberty Bell. The next available ticket was not until later on in the day so we took them and decided we would come back later for the tour.


It was time for lunch at this point so we made our way back to the food market called The Reading Terminal Market. There was so much available here from meats to cheeses to seafood all fresh and also baked goods from the oven. I could have easily eaten my way around if I was here for longer. We spotted a little place called By George! Which specialised in Pizza, Pasta and Cheesesteaks. The person in front of me ordered the most delicious looking lasagne and the portion sizes were immense. I am glad I do not live near here as I could see my diet getting out of hand very quickly. Me and James ordered a Cheesesteak meal which came with fries and then we had a drink too. We didn’t have long to wait and we then made our way to the seating area. I unwrapped my cheesesteak and it was absolutely filled to the brim with steak, cheese and onions. It smelled and looked amazing. I ate the whole thing and felt pretty stuffed afterwards but it was 100% well and truly worth it.


We then decided to head for Rocky but being full we did not want to move very quickly. We were on a bit of a time schedule so decided to get a taxi there and split the costs. This only took 10 minutes or so to get us there in the end. We could see the Rocky statue as we pulled up so we went and had a photo with that first. There weren’t too many people about.



We then went for the run up the steps. I did this whilst wearing grey joggers and playing the theme tune. I must admit I did get some strange looks but at the end of the day I thought who on earth is going to see me again, I may as well go all out! I’m not even a huge fan of the Rocky films but it was all about getting into character.


Once we had ran up the steps, there wasn’t a lot else to do. We walked back to where we originally got the bus and headed for our free tour. It was a quick tour and there were some facts to be learned and we found out about the declaration of independence. After the tour it was a quick dash back to our Greyhound bus and on we went back to New York. Once again, my vlog of the day can be seen below.



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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Giraffe World Kitchen Norwich Review*

As you all know by now, I do love my food and I love trying out new places. I was recently invited to try out Giraffe World Kitchen in Norwich which has recently been re branded. I couldn’t wait to see the new look, I hadn’t been to Giraffe for a long time so a visit was long overdue. For those who are local, Giraffe World Kitchen is right outside Chapelfield Shopping Centre, located near to the other eateries. We arrived at 7pm for dinner and were greeted by two smiling members of staff. I took James with me to help with any photos and it made a good excuse for a date night as well.


As soon as I walked in I noticed the changes in décor. The restaurant is really bright and colourful and I love the pops of yellow that they have all over the walls. It was bright and had a fresh feeling to it. The tables were laid out nicely. We were seated in a booth and I quite liked that we felt a bit tucked away from the rest of the restaurant. You could also sit outside if you wanted to. The atmosphere was great, music was playing and people were chatting. I thought it had a really nice vibe. The staff were really friendly and couldn’t do enough for you. As soon as my drink was getting low, the waitress came over and offered me another one which was great.



Speaking of drinks, I had a couple of Mocktails called ‘Wavebreakers’ which was a blend of pineapple and coconut and oh my, they were amazing. I think when I took my first sip I said “this tastes like summer in a cup” and that is the only way I can really describe it. So fruity and refreshing, I want to recreate these at home! James had Franklin & Sons sparkling Apple & Rhubarb drink which he really liked too, it had a hint of cinnamon which he said gave a nice kick to it.

There were a few different starters to choose from including World Tapas so that you could taste your way around the world by sharing a few small plates. There were also a range of super starters. We decided to go for 3 tapas starters which cost £14.95 which we then shared between us. First up we had the shredded chicken tacos which came topped with guacamole, sour creme, and chipotle. They had a lovely kick to them and were very filling. Secondly we chose the salt and pepper squid which came with a delicious sweet chilli jam. The final starter we had (and my personal favourite!) was the karaage chicken. This chicken was served with a honey and soy dip and was really tasty. The starters were a good size, there was also the option to have five for  £24.95 but I think this would have been a bit too much since we were having three courses.




I had trouble choosing a main course as there were so many delicious tempting options, I just didn’t know where to begin! With dishes from around the world you could go for Enchiladas, Burgers, Vietnamese Steamboat or even a Texan BBQ Brisket. I decided in the end to try out the Turkish Pide topped with grilled chicken, baby spinach, feta and roasted red pepper and chilli on a spiced tomato base with charred Turkish peppers. This dish was amazing and the toppings were well spread across the dish and were plentiful. James went for the Vietnamese Steamboat which consisted of honey and soy glazed sea bream sprinkled with sesame seeds, in a broth of bok choy, red chillies, sugar snaps and cherry tomatoes. From a traditional Dzao recipe. He said it had a nice array of vegetables to it and felt like a pretty healthy option. He said the Sea Bream was cooked to perfection.



We couldn’t leave without trying dessert. The waitress recommended the Hot Chocolate Brownie and the Eton Mess so we decided to go with them. The Hot Chocolate Brownie was served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and some hot chocolate sauce. It was absolutely amazing. When it came out, I thought it was a bit small however you didn’t need any more as it was so rich and delicious. My only complaint is that as it was served on a plate it was hard to scrape every last morsel off, whereas in a bowl I may have been able to get every drop of sauce, but maybe that is just me being greedy. James had the Eton Mess Sundae. He struggled to finish it all as it was a decent sized portion and he thought it was a little bit sickly after a while. This didn’t bother me as it meant I could ‘help’ him finish it. It was very sweet. The meringues were crunchy and delicious, it could have done with a bit of ice cream to take away the sweet flavour of the cream and sauce but between us we polished it off.



Overall we had a really enjoyable meal at Giraffe World Kitchen. The staff were great, food was amazing and there was a lovely atmosphere. What would you have picked from the menu?

*I received this meal free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.
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Friday, 21 July 2017

Make Thai Food at Home With Thai Taste*

As you may well have noticed from my blog or my Instagram account, I love food! I love trying foods from around the world and there are very few things that I won’t try out. When I was asked if I wanted to try and create some Thai recipes at home with authentic brand Thai Taste, I jumped at the opportunity to try out something new. Thai Taste has partnered with Thai restaurateur Seb Holmes to inspire people to create restaurant-quality Thai food at home. It is not often that I cook Thai food so I was excited to give it a go.


Seb has devised four recipes that allow consumers to maximise the creative potential of the Thai Taste range. All of the Thai Taste products are authentically Thai and can be found in the majority of supermarkets in the UK. The recipes that have been devised include Crab & Prawn Vermicelli Noodle Salad, Coconut Braised Pigs’ Cheeks with Lemongrass, Galangal and Kaffir Lime, Mango Sticky Rice and Pumpkin, Galangal and Coconut Soup. I was kindly sent the ingredients to create the Crab and Prawn Vermicelli Noodle Salad and I have outlined the recipe below, credit to Thai Taste.

Crab & Prawn Vermicelli Noodle Salad 
Serves: 2 (Gluten-free)
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
6 fresh tiger prawns, de-veined and sliced lengthways in half
50g fresh brown crab meat (white meat or a mixture is also delicious)
100g Thai Taste vermicelli noodles, blanched in boiling water for 10 minutes and then refreshed under cold water
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon coriander root (leave out if you can’t find it)
1 tablespoon Thai Taste galangal
1 tablespoon Thai Taste turmeric paste
200ml, Thai Taste coconut milk
10g coriander, picked and washed
1 tsp Thai Taste Red Chilli paste
10g chives, chopped into 1cm pieces
10g mint, leaves torn slightly
20g peeled Thai shallots, sliced (any sweet shallot will be nice)
2 spring onion, cleaned and finely shredded
1 lime, chopped into cheeks
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon Thai Taste fish sauce
1 teaspoon Thai Taste palm sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Method:
1. Mix the garlic, galangal, turmeric and red chilli paste together
2. In a large pan or wok heat the vegetable oil on a medium to high heat and then fry this paste out, moving constantly to avoid it sticking to the pan. When the paste begins to turn golden brown in colour add the prawns and brown crab meat and continue to fry for a further 2-3 minutes until they are completely pink and hot throughout.
3. At this stage add the fish sauce and the palm sugar and fry for a further 30 seconds to caramelise the sugar, you will notice that the paste begins to darken at this stage. Next add the coconut milk, blanched noodles, shallots, mint, coriander and chives and delicately toss everything together in the pan allowing the noodles, salad and prawns to all mix and be coated by the coconut sauce.
4. Serve the noodles straight away in bowls with spoons and chop sticks and a cheek of lime, it’s also great with a good helping of Thai Taste sweet chilli sauce. This recipe makes enough for a hearty lunch, however this is an awesome dish to serve at dinner too, double the recipe if you want a bigger feed.


This dish was absolutely delicious and went down a treat. The only thing I didn’t have was coriander leaves but the dish worked well without them. Not only was this so simple to create, the food was amazing and tasted very authentic. Now that I have the store cupboard staples at home I can recreate this dish whenever I like.


If you like the look of this recipe, head over to Thai Taste to find out more.


*I received some of these items free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.
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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

My Little Los Angeles Box

Finally, My Little Box has arrived once again and this one has got me falling right back in love with it. When I tore open the box and saw the Los Angeles design, I was over the moon at the theme. This is the second box that has been themed on a destination that I have visited (the other being Brooklyn) so the theme to me is even closer to home. I love the destination themes, I think they work so well and the products seem to be pretty spot on. Anyway on to what I received.


This map was included in the box and it really did bring back memories of my holiday and the places I visited. I had to get out my photo album and match up the landmarks on the map with my own photos and I think this will be a great addition to the scrapbook I made back when I visited. It would also look nice framed on the wall in my office so I am unsure what to do with it at the moment.

 

Next up was this bracelet. The packaging states this was inspired by the cotton candy colours of a Californian sunset. Each of the beads represents a wish for love, health and happiness. I have enjoyed styling this with some of my summer outfits, it just gives a nice pop of colour.


I then received a small sized bottle of the Palmers Coconut Oil body lotion. I love this lotion as the scent is amazing compared to some lotions that don't really smell of much. The size is perfect for travelling too and I love using this on sunburn too ad it really hydrates the skin.


The next My Little Beauty item I received was this Coco Sunrise hair and body oil which I love. Again, it smells delicious and sinks into the skin with ease without leaving a greasy residue.


Burt's Bees is a brand I have known and used for a while so I was very happy to see a familiar name in this box. This deep cleansing cream is amazing and I cannot fault it. It gently removes excess oil, dirt and make up from the skin. I have enjoyed using this and feeling like I am getting a really deep clean.


One of the lifestyle items in this months box was this tote bag with 'Take Me Away' written on it. It's a decent size and I will probably take it on holiday with me to pack essentials and it can double up as a shopper if I go out for the day too. The design is colourful and bright, I love it.


Finally, we received some stickers with a California theme. I am in love with the cactus sticker. I am going to use these in my California scrap book so that my memories can live on.


Really impressed with this box. What do you think?


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Monday, 17 July 2017

The Importance of Having Safe Tyres*

My car is due its yearly service in a couple of weeks and I cannot stress the importance of having this done. Since owning newer cars I have made it a necessity to get a service completed to keep them in check during their first three years before the MOT is due.

A few years ago now I had an older car. I would take it to have an MOT once a year and that would be that until the year after. I never did anything in-between and one day I certainly learned my lesson. About 7 years ago now, I was driving along a country road when I came across a slight wet patch in the road. My car skidded and then hit something at the side of the road. I carried on driving further up and noticed my car did not feel right. When I got to the next junction, my car struggled to pull away so I pulled up in a safe area. My tyre had completely torn and was not roadworthy. I had to get the AA to come and change it for me, they told me that if I would have got my car serviced and had my tyres regularly changed then this would not have happened. The tyre had worn right down meaning it did not have as much grip on the road which caused me to skid. This experience was not a nice one for me and I did feel scared. I am so pleased that I now regularly service my car and check my tyre tread.


If you are a driver then you should be aware of basic car maintenance tips to keep your vehicle in check between visits to the garage. I am going to outline some basic tips which will be able to help you and ensure your safety on the road. When I did a recent driving course, they taught me the FLOWER method to check a vehicle as follows:

Fuel – Check that you have enough fuel to cover your journey or for really long journeys fill up your tank and make sure you re-fill it again well before it drops into the red in case you don’t come across a fuel station for a few miles. If it’s snowing and you run out of petrol it won’t be ideal being stuck in the cold!

Lights - Test all of your lights before setting off to ensure your bulbs are all working and that there are no cracks in the lenses. Also make sure they are clean and not obscured with dirt. Having a light out is not only dangerous, it can also get you a ticket or a VDRS slip (Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme) from the police if they notice a defect on your vehicle. You will be required to get the defect fixed as soon as possible and to provide suitable evidence within 14 days that you have done so. If you fail to do so you will face the prospect of prosecution, points on your licence and a fine.

Oils - Make sure your oil levels are topped up above the minimum lines. Don’t forget to also check your coolant levels and anti-freeze for the upcoming cold months. This prevents the engine from overheating and failing. Checking the engine oil is relatively simple, even I can do it! You are often taught how to do this on your driving test. If your car does not have enough oil then the engine can be at serious risk of damage. You should check your oil levels once a fortnight and top up when needed. To check the oil levels make sure the engine is cool and that your car is not parked on a hill. Remove the oil dipstick and wipe clean with a cloth. Re-insert the dipstick fully, pull it out again and check that the level is between the two lines. Engine coolant helps to remove excess heat from your car’s engine. If coolant levels get low, your engine can overheat and cause serious damage. It is a good idea to check coolant levels before a long journey. Locate the engine coolant reservoir and check that the level is between the min and max marks. If it needs to be topped up, make sure the engine has completely cooled off.

Water - Top up your water in your car – this includes wiper fluid. Make sure your windscreen is clear from dirt/debris and that you can see out of it before setting off. If your screen has misted up, wait for it to completely de-mist before starting your journey.

Electrics – Battery problems can be the number one cause of breakdowns. Renew old batteries before they let you down. Make sure your electric radiator cooling fan starts running when the engine is hot.
Rubber - Before you set off you need to ensure your tyres are safer and roadworthy. The minimum legal tread depth for tyres is 1.6mm but it is recommended you maintain a depth of at least 3mm. Worn tyres affect your stopping distance and can cause you to lose control in wet weather which is likely this winter. They can also cause you to use more fuel. Stopping distances increase in the rain and snow so please take this into account. Also make sure your tyre pressure is correct and tyres are pumped up correctly. If you are looking to buy cheap reliable tyres (London and other areas) , you can get them from DAT Tyres. Your handbook will give you the recommended guide which may differ if you are carrying extra passengers. As the driver you are responsible for ensuring the vehicle you are driving is maintained in a roadworthy condition. Ensure your windscreen wiper blades are working and they are not split or worn.

I hope these tips will help you on your next journey and help you to continue having a smooth ride.


*Sponsored Post
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