Monday, 27 February 2017

Book Review: Eat Smart by Niomi Smart

I love recipe books and when I saw that Youtuber/Blogger Niomi Smart was bringing out her own offering I had to get my hands on it. Albeit this was a few months ago now I have had the book long enough to really review it. I managed to pre-order a copy early on so actually managed to get a signed one which was pretty cool even if it was unintentional. First off, I love the cover. The foil spoon extends to the back of the book and the photo on the front is simple yet effective. 

The recipes inside are inspired by her every day healthy eating and she even incorporates flavours from her holidays. Whilst these recipes are plant based, this isn’t shoved in your face and shows you that vegan food can also be super flavoursome and varied. There are plenty of healthy dishes in here but there are also plenty of sweet treats and will offer you an alternative perspective on cooking up some of your much loved foods. The ingredients are readily available and although some more obscure and expensive superfoods are mentioned, Niomi outlines the fact that you don’t actually ‘need’ to use these products.

The recipes are split into breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides & snacks, desserts and drinks and range from delicious tarts to jammy dodgers, smoothie bowls and ice cream. There really is something for everyone in this book. The recipes are laid out clearly and the photos are stunning and clear. There is also a ‘what I eat in a week’ double page showing what Niomi eats on a non-work out weekday and workout weekend days so it’s good to see a real life example of how these recipes can be places into a daily meal plan.

Overall I am glad I purchased this book, I am really enjoying using it and feeling less guilty for eating healthy snacks over ones laden with sugar and fats.


Monday, 20 February 2017

My Little Mountains Box

I eagerly awaited this months My Little Box after hearing from Kim that it was a good one. When it arrived nearly a week after she got hers I ripped open the packaging to see what was inside after avoiding all spoilers. I was greeted with the most amazing design, all ski related. Having been skiing myself 5 years ago now this brought back some nostalgic memories. I really loved the design of the box, and the contents were pretty awesome too.

I love the little extra additions we received this month, especially the fabric bag that we get each month which also followed the ski theme. We also received the standard card print, this one with a nice quote "How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top" - Yvon Chouinard. I will be displaying this in my office with some of the other prints I have received. We also received a little booklet titled 'Get Cosy' which contains some nice ski facts and soup recipes in the back.

Next up we received some Cold Feet glitter socks, perfect for keeping warm in the colder months. I love how sparkly these are, they certainly add some glam. The packaging is branded with "Chasse-Neige" which translates to snow plow! Fun fact there!

Next up is another couple of random pieces. Firstly a little post it note pad covered with the ski theme design and representing the shape of a mountain. I will be taking these to work with me to get the best use from them. There was also a chunky ski snood knitting pattern with some discount codes to purchase the materials with. I have no chance of ever knitting this snood as I have no idea what to do but it was a nice touch to include the instructions for those keen to give it a go.

I then opened this adorable little pot and I was unsure what was inside. The pot contained an alpine chic fabric brooch, perfect for wearing on the slopes or jazzing up any bag or outfit. The brooch says 'Coeur de Glace' which translates to 'heart of ice', totally suits me. I am going to add this to an outfit of mine and try and find a use for the little pot because I love it.

A familiar brand popped out to me when I saw the Benefit Porefessional Primer. I have used this many times before and it is a product that I like so it is nice to have a mini version. This 7.5ml sample is apparently worth £10. I will be taking this on holiday as it's a great travel sized piece, perfect for hiding unsightly pores and keeping that foundation in place.

I also received this Icy Magic Instant Eye Contour Energiser from the brand Polaar, worth £19.90 for this roll on. This roll on aims to help smooth things out, drain puffy eyes, erase dark circles and even promote eyelash growth. I have been using this product for a few days and really like it but we shall see if there are any real differences after a few more weeks use.

Finally, I received the My Little Beauty item French Kiss Lip Balm. I love that this comes in a spherical shaped package, simply pop the lid off and roll the product on. It is easy to use and has a nice scent to it. It also leaves my lips feeling smooth and hydrated.

Overall I am really impressed with this box, I keep getting some great items month on month and eagerly await the next box!


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

MAHI Leather - Featured Brand

I love shopping and buying new clothes and accessories but continuously find myself battling with the costs of high street and designer brands. The reason for this is because of numerous middlemen along the way contributing to inflated prices in-between production and seeing the product on the shelves. When I heard about the brand MAHI Leather, I thought their concept and mission was something to be admired and I am going to tell you all about them.

MAHI Leather is a brand based in London and named after Mahi River in India, worshipped by many people. What is even more special is that the coordinates on their logo (22° N, 72° E) represent the mouth of the river, where it meets the Arabian Sea. Their mission is connect consumers with craftsmen and offer unmatched value. You can save up to 50% compared to the high street equivalent by buying direct. They have even been featured in the press including in the much loved Vogue.

These bags are amazing value and are shipped directly from their workshop and delivered internationally within 4-5 business days. Each bag is made to order which significantly reduces waste and removes the cost of stockpiling materials. These massive savings for the craftsmen are passed onto you as a customer. Every MAHI is made with soft leather, sturdy brass fittings and robust YKK zippers. The bags are built to last and include backpacks and duffles among other products. The bags can also be customised with your initials so would make the perfect unique gift for someone.

Another great thing about these bags is that you contribute to charity by purchasing one. $1.50 from every MAHI sold is donated to FRANK Water charity, a UK charity that has helped over 300,000 people gain access to clean drinking water since 2005. So far they have raised over $7k which has provided many people with clean water in their homes for life. I think as a brand overall that is fantastic.

If you would like to find out more then please head over to the MAHI Leather website.

*Photos obtained from MAHI Leather.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Animalbox Purrfectbox Review*

I love receiving gifts and gift boxes for my pets so when the Purrfectbox arrived on my doorstep packed with goodies for Biscuit, I couldn’t wait to open it and share some fabulous new goodies with him. If you haven’t heard of Purrfectbox or Pawsomebox and you’re a pet lover then you really are missing out. These boxes are monthly arrangements of 5-6 specially selected goodies for your furry friends. From only £14.90 depending on the length of subscription, the boxes are delivered straight to your door and can contain products worth over £40.

To get started with either a Pawsomebox for your dog or a Purrfectbox for your cat it couldn’t be simpler. Head over to their website and choose the appropriate offer from 1 month – 1 year. Log in to either your Pawsomebox or Purrfectbox account and fill in your pets details. This enables them to choose appropriate gifts depending on your pet. For every 2 boxes that they deliver, £1 is given to a local animal organisation which I think is a really nice gesture.

This month’s box contained some lovely items which I will definitely get some use of. Firstly this lovely paw print soft blanket that you can see in the background of the photos. This is just the right size for Biscuit and it fits in his bed. I have currently laid it at the bottom of my bed where he sleeps so hopefully he will start to use it. We then received these Gim Cat Shiny Cat Filet pouches. One is chicken and papaya flavoured, the other is tuna with crab. I usually just buy supermarket cat food so Biscuit loves it when he gets to try new flavours and brands. These went down a treat and were eaten within minutes, I guess that’s a thumbs up from him!

This toy from Tyrol is an interesting one and if I am honesty I am not sure what animal it is supposed to represent, I am going to say a hippo. This soft toy is filled with catnip and was well received. When I put all of biscuits toys in a pile he went for this one, probably because the catnip smell was still quite fragrant compared to his other toys.

I thought these chicken cubes looked really interesting when I opened the box. This cat snack is made from real chicken meat and is low in fat. The cubes are quite firm and Biscuit did have a bit of trouble eating them as he hasn’t quite got all of his teeth so I have only been giving him one of these at a time to save his jaw! He seems to really like them though and soon comes running over when he hears the bag rustling. It is also worth mentioning that each box comes with a magazine and this month’s edition was filled with fun facts and information. There was even a recipe inside on how to make your own cat treats so I will be giving that a try so Biscuit can try some really natural flavours.

This mouse from the brand Trixie is filled with catnip and also has a little bell in the middle. The outside is sort of a rope material and is nice and scratchy to the touch which is something Biscuit loves to get his claws into. The mouse has a string for a tail so it’s fun to dangle this in front of the cat and watch them try and bat it with their paws. It’s a good quality toy and I can see this being a firm favourite in our household.

These Healthy Centres Roast Chicken Flavoured Bites are a good source of Omega 3. The cream filled bites are wheat and soya free. Each bag contains 29 servings and it tells you how much to give your cat on the back. Biscuit loved these little treats.

My favourite item in this box was this gorgeous Tabby Chic catnip mouse. The toy is supposed to be in a shabby chic design and I think it looks really modern and love the design. Biscuit liked it too which is always a bonus.

What do you think of this box? Will you be treating your fur babies?

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

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Buying a House – Exchange and Completion

This is the 4th and final part in my house buying series and follows on from ‘Solicitors and Surveys’. Once all the paperwork is complete you are now ready to exchange contracts. Once you have exchanged you are legally bound to buying the house and the seller legally has to sell it to you. You cannot pull out of this without incurring major costs and potentially losing your deposit. We exchanged 14 weeks after putting in our offer but I have no idea what the average timescale is, it will vary greatly depending on your chain and circumstances.

The Exchange process involves handing over the money for your deposit, any remaining fees and stamp duty to your solicitors. It was scary transferring that much money at once, I was so worried it would somehow get lost on route. Once the solicitor receives the funds and everyone else in the chain has done the same then you are ready to exchange. As soon as this was done we then needed to set up buildings insurance straight away as we were then responsible for the building and committed to buying the house. This then had to be approved by the solicitors to ensure it met the requirements of the lender.

We had no idea when we were going to exchange, all of my friends seemed to have a date well in advance yet we paid all of this money and didn’t have a clue. The solicitors were very vague with us and wouldn’t give us anything concrete. They wanted us to set up buildings insurance from the date of exchange yet wouldn’t give me a date so we went around in circles for a bit. After telling us ‘exchange was just around the corner’ we then had is sprung on us that we were in fact in a chain. We then knew it was going to take forever, this really did get me down and I kept trying to think of the positives. The longer it dragged on the more money I had in the bank for furniture and other house related items.

When you exchange you should then get a completion date. Our date was 12 days later but this can happen within a week or even a matter of days. We were pleased we had a bit of extra time as we hadn’t really started packing. Those 12 days were the longest days EVER. I just wanted the keys in my hand. Completion day is the most exciting part.. the day you get your keys! I will write all about my experience with moving in my next post.

I really hope this series has helped you or at least given you a rough idea on what it’s like to buy a house for the first time! If you have any questions please feel free to use the ‘Contact’ page and drop me an email.


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Primark PS Pro Oval Brush Review

I cannot tell you how excited I was to finally see these in my local Primark after convincing myself that they were all just a rumour. I even traipsed all the way to the London Primark thinking they would have them there but with no luck. Finally after months of searching, I saw the Oval Brushes in my own branch and had to snap them up. I decided to buy one of each size, for fear that they may go out of stock and disappear again. I got the Primark PS Pro Large Blending Brush for £4, PS Pro Medium Blending Brush for £3, and the PS Pro Small Blending Brush for £2.50.

Primark have well and truly upped their game when it comes to their beauty items. I even noticed acrylic storage now available – gone are the days of ordering it all from Muji! These PS Pro brushes are the perfect dupe for the much loved high end Artis brushes, and a lot more affordable. I have been after an Oval brush ever since I saw Kylie Jenner using them to apply her moisturiser but no way was I going to spend more than £40 on one brush.

These brushes are synthetic but the hairs feel very soft and work wonders when buffing products into the skin. I now pump my foundation directly onto the brush and I am amazed at how flawless my make-up looks. The brushes give an airbrushed finish. I love that Primark do different sizes and they are great for different areas on the face. I find the small brush perfect for getting around the nose and into smaller areas. It is also perfect for blending out that eyeshadow.

The brushes so far feel sturdy and when washed they do retain their shape. I recommend drying them bristle side down to avoid the glue getting wet and weakening. Even if one of these was to break, I think for £4 for the most expensive brush it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Overall I am really happy with these brushes and how good the quality is. My make-up now looks flawless and is so quick to apply. Such an affordable high street dupe!

Have you tried an Oval brush? What do you think?

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