Wednesday, 30 September 2015

5 Quick Simple Happiness Boosters

We all have bad days and weeks, I've been having some myself lately and it's so easy to get yourself into a rut. But after a couple of days of justified wallowing in bed bulk watching Netflix, its time to try and pick yourself up again. 

Here are 5 little things that help me cheer myself up:

Plan Something

Get something in the diary to get yourself going - it could be anything, as long as it makes you happy. Something as exciting as a holiday or little trip away, or buying tickets to watch a band you love, or a spa treatment, or even just going for a walk or drive to your favourite beach.

See Your Friends

If you're anything like me, when you feel low you just want to retreat and the last thing you feel like doing is making the effort to put on a brave face. But it does help, trust me. I dragged myself out of bed to go and visit friends for the evening - we had a couple of glasses of wine and watched an old film (we chose Kramer vs Kramer which is one of my favourites) and I felt a million times better by the end of the day than I had at the start.

Get Outside

Getting some fresh air and going for a walk always makes me feel better. Getting some air into my lungs and my heart pumping makes my problems seem more manageable, even if only for a short while. It must be the endorphins, but it really helps me clear my head and makes me feel much better than wallowing in the house.

Pamper Yourself

I love a good pamper, whether it be soaking in the bath, putting on a face mask, painting my nails or all of the above, I feel better when I take care of myself and have some me-time. Putting my favourite bubble bath in, lighting some candles and getting a good book or magazine ready is one of my favourite things to do if I feel down.

And Relax

Finally, do whatever makes you happy! Whether its any of the things I mentioned already, or just settling down in bed with a cup of tea, a bar of chocolate and some trashy TV, as long as you're doing what feels right, it'll help you feel better. We all need some time to ourselves, and to spoil ourselves a bit.

What do you do when you need a pick me up?


Monday, 28 September 2015

Food Post: Quick Vegetable Pesto Flatbread Pizza

When it comes to food I'm all about simplicity. I really enjoy cooking but I don't love spending hours toiling away in the kitchen; I like food that's quick and simple, but also healthy and nutritious. 

Florette Salad* inspired me to create a recipe using one of their salads, and after perusing their healthy recipes I settled on the Vegetable Pesto Flatbread Pizza. It's super quick and simple to make.


For this you'll need:
  • 1 (or 2 if you're hungry) Flatbreads - I used garlic & herb
  • Tomato Pesto
  • 1 Red Pepper and 1 Yellow Pepper
  • Olives (I used around half a pack)
  • A handful of Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 bag of Florette Sweet Crispy
If you look on the website you'll see that I adapted the recipe slightly; I didn't use courgette, radishes or pomegranate/pumpkin seeds (and I used olives rather than capers as I prefer them) but I don't think it detracted from the taste.

  • Slice and wash the vegetables. Griddle them in a little olive oil for 5-6 minutes turning frequently to ensure they're browned and soft on both sides. I added rainbow pepper, sea salt, rosemary and Herbes de Provence for seasoning.

  • Cook the Flatbread for around 8 minutes then spread some Tomato Pesto on top.

  • Top the Flatbread with the griddled peppers, tomatoes and olives. I also added some more pepper for flavour.

  • Finally I made a side salad using Florette Sweet Crispy, and my Dad's home-grown cherry tomatoes. I added some French Dressing too.

This recipe was so quick and simple, and versatile too. It could be eaten either as a lunch or as an evening meal. I had this with some fresh bread and a glass of wine, but it could also be served with chips or new potatoes.

Depending on what your kitchen facilities are like in work, this meal is light enough to even be made at work.

I really should add my apologies for my poor photos, not only were they taken on my iPhone, I also realised I have possibly the most unphotogenic kitchen in the world! 

What do you think?

* Post written in collaboration with Florette Salad. For more great recipes and ideas on low calorie meals visit the Florette Salad website. 


Friday, 25 September 2015

Glossybox / September Review

Signing up for Glossybox was one of the best decisions I've made lately. It really cheers up my week when I have nothing else to look forward to except this landing on my doormat. I LOVE the Style Edition boxes too!

Here's what this months box looks like:

Nails Inc Nail Polish

I got the blush pink in my box, and while its a pretty shade I think I would have preferred the khaki for the Autumn months...but having said that this is a nice neutral shade for work and Nails Inc polishes are amazing.

Marsk Eyeshadow Brush Pro

As my eagle eyed friend pointed out, there was a lovely slate grey Marsk eyeshadow in the box a few months ago that this will go nicely with. I like a smokey eye for a night out, especially during the colder months, and silly as it sounds I'm a bit reluctant to smear my everyday eyeshadow brush into the darker colours as I stick to neutrals for this is perfect to just keep for nights out.

Bellapierre Shimmer Powder

Further to the above, this little eyeshadow looks perfect. They've coined it 'greige' (grey/beige) and apparently its the colour of the season, I look better in darker colours so I'm looking forward to trying this.

Invisibobble Traceless Hair Ring

Not quite sure how these can be invisible unless you have grey hair (?!) but nevertheless, I'm all out of bobbles as it happens so this couldn't have come at a better time. Its appealing that they don't leave any kink in the hair (so they say) as I hate waking up in the morning and having to start straightening my hair (give me the extra ten minutes in bed!) and if they also don't cause damage they sound fab.

Maria Nila Luminous Colour Hair Masque

Last but not least, my favourite item in the box. This smells AMAZING, it reminds me of peach melba yoghurt, which I also love coincidentally. My favourite thing about Glossybox is getting to try products that we wouldn't normally get over here, and of course we all love the full size ones right? This retails at £18.95 so its amazingly good value, and is also completely natural. This sounds amazing and I can't wait to try it.

What did you think of this month's Glossybox?

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Rlife Live Event / The Renaissance Hotel, Manchester

As a lover of both hotel stays and live music, you can probably imagine that I was over the moon when The Renaissance Manchester very kindly invited me to attend their Rlife Live Event last week.

The Rlife is a live event that all the hotels in the Renaissance chain put on around 4-5 times a month, showcasing homegrown talent. The emphasis is on 'local' - the events feature all manner of performers/artists from the Manchester area, including magicians, food tasting, singers and live music, and (luckily for me) the night I was there, an incredible Manchester-based band called Gypsies of Bohemia.

Through doing these events, the Renaissance are keen to show that they are more than just a hotel (albeit a very lovely one!) and instead want to expand their appeal to encourage people to discover what Manchester has to offer. By turning their Blackfriars bar into an entertainment venue, they hope to include not just hotel guests but also make the local community feel welcome.

With such a strong emphasis on 'local talent', it seems fitting that all the produce at the event was also locally sourced. The hotel have their own beer which is brewed especially for them at the Tweed Brewery in nearby Hyde. I sampled some of course (would have been rude not to!) and I can confirm its lovely, with an unusual hint of rose. 
Nibbles such as locally made crisps, and a subtly spicy yoghurt dip from Lancashire were also on offer. I was in my element!

Onto the music, the band playing were the Gypsies of Bohemia, who naturally hail from Manchester. The hotel is very proud of its Mancunian roots (which is also evident throughout their decor of local landmarks) and they want to introduce something different, as well as helping people discover lesser known acts from the local area. 

The band describe themselves as 'Manchester's first jazz manouche non-purists' and they were absolutely brilliant! They perform covers of popular songs and give them a unique and innovative twist, the fact that I found myself playing a game of 'guess the cover' only added to the fun! Their setlist included covers of 'Ain't Nobody', 'Crazy In Love', 'Wuthering Heights', 'Heart of Glass', 'Tainted Love' and 'Seven Nation Army', as well as a few lesser known ones like 'Just' by Radiohead (one of my personal favourites) and 'This Charming Man' by the Smiths. They ended by playing what can only be described as an fantastic rendition of 'Backstreet's Back' mashed up with Skee-Lo's 'I Wish' which is genuinely as amazing as it sounds.

The atmosphere was buzzing, with wine and beer flowing freely and everyone mingling. There was then a break from the music while the 'Blackfriars Beverage Ritual' took place, which is a free punch made in front of everyone and then shared out. The flavour of the night was honey (from Moreton in Cheshire), apricot brandy, Glanmorangie, cloves and lemon juice and it was delicious.

To top off a fantastic night, the hotel also threw in an overnight stay for me in one of their deluxe rooms and breakfast the following morning, which made me feel like a very lucky girl. As it was on the other times I've stayed, the service, rooms and food were amazing, and the staff all so friendly and welcoming, and passionate about providing the best service that they can.

I'd certainly go to another Rlife Event, I'd highly recommend it for something a bit different in the Manchester area. I had a ball!

Have you ever been to one of the Rlife Events in any Renaissance Hotel?

Monday, 21 September 2015

Lazy days

I absolutely can't over-emphasise the importance of a lazy day. There's been a distinct shift in my outlook on life over the last year, I've become such a homebody. I absolutely love curling up in bed or in a blanket, reading a good book, listening to my favourite music, watching Netflix (current favourite: revisiting Gossip Girl) and drinking as many cups of tea as possible.

My new favourite day of the week is Sunday. Aside from the lurking horror that is Monday, I now relish waking up in my fresh clean sheets, taking my time over breakfast and recharging. Obviously a perfect lazy day would at some point include a walk on the beach as I need some fresh air or else I start feeling a little bit sluggish. This weekend was perfect, a night in on Friday after a stressful week at work, lunch and shopping with the bestie and then a few drinks with some good friends on Saturday night, but then a little glimmer of excitement kept running through my mind that a lazy Sunday was on the horizon.

Back to work today, and I'm sure you're all feeling as overjoyed as me. Three day weekends should be compulsory, except then we'd all have that Tuesday feeling, ugh.

(all images taken from Pinterest)

How did you spend your weekends?


Friday, 18 September 2015

Fat Face Haul

It's no secret that I love Fat Face, they're my first port of call when I feel like treating myself to a cheeky purchase. Apart from Christmas their summer and winter sales are my two favourite times of the year! (Did I just admit that?!) Here's what I picked up in their summer sale last weekend:

This is probably going to have to stay in the wardrobe until next summer now, but its a nice fitted dress, I don't like the big flowy maxi's on myself at all.

I love the crisp white look of this top. The pretty embroidery stops it from being too plain, but this is perfect with jeans or to take away on holiday.

This t-shirt is quite plain, but I'm all about the loose, comfy t-shirts for those days where you don't feel like going to too much effort, but still want to look like you have. I chose this in 'Ocean Tide' but there are other colours available too.

This crochet cami is really cute, and I love the way it flares out at the bottom to make it a bit different. The only concern I have is that it's a little sheer, but I can always pop a vest on underneath if my burger belly proves too much.

I bought this jumper a couple of weeks ago and I've been living in it, its so comfy and has pretty detailing at the back. Its more or less completely sold out in stores and online so I had to go a size up, but I actually really like the slouchy effect.

Have you made any Fat Face purchases lately?


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Neal's Yard Skincare

A few weeks ago I picked up the Award Winning Skincare Kit from Neal's Yard, I'd heard a lot about their products already, and as I'm a sucker for aesthetically pleasing packaging I was keen to get my mitts on some of them. I also suffer from problem skin, and so the fact that they're natural ticks even more of my boxes.

Within the kit I got mini-sized Rejuvenating Frankincense Refining Cleanser, Wild Rose Beauty Balm, White Tea Facial Mist, Beauty Sleep Concentrate and White Tea Enriching Facial Mask which for £20 is a lot of bang for your buckThe customer service was also brilliant, the girl in the store talked me through various different products and also kindly threw in a few extra samples to try, which were Frankincense Hydrating Cream, Rehydrating Rose Facial Polish, Purifying Palmarosa Mattifier, Rehydrating Rose Daily Moisture and White Tea Toning Eye Gel.

I went home eager to try my new wares, and I've been happily using them for the last week so I could get a feel for them properly before writing about them.

This product retails at £38 for 50g so it's not the cheapest, but judging by the amount you use it would last a long time. This is a multi-use product that can be used as either a cleanser, an exfoliant (if you use a muslin cloth) or a nourishing balm. So far I've only used it as a cleanser, but I love it. I really like rose scented products anyway, but its rich and creamy. 

As soon as I put this on my skin I knew it was a winner, it glided on and felt soft and soothing. My skin has been stressed and blemish prone lately and it just felt like a soft blanket on my skin. This is £26.50 for 50g and if used once a week as recommended it would last ages.

I've been using this before bed each night (around 2-3 pumps) and it's made a huge difference. Because I have quite sensitive skin, a lot of moisturisers don't agree with me and just feel like they're sitting on my skin rather than being absorbed. This melts in beautifully and I wake up with lovely soft skin. Again for £32.50 for 30ml it's not that cheap, but it's definitely worth a splurge.

I  haven't ever really used facial mists much, but this feels really light and refreshing when you just want a quick boost. I can't see me re-purchasing this as I personally probably wouldn't use it much, but for £11.50 for 45ml it's good value.

The final item in the kit - I used this as a morning cleanser and as with everything else I've tried so far, its soothing and smells lovely, which seems to be a running theme with Neal's Yard. Its light and non-greasy and for £20 for 100g it's better value than a lot of other cleanser's I've used.

Onto the free samples, I've also tried each of them and love them all.

My favourite of these products is the Mattifier, I've loved this as base for my make up, it's just a shame it's so expensive as I probably wouldn't spend that as I already have a primer. 

My verdict is that I absolutely LOVE Neal's Yard, they're a range that manages to feel luxurious while still affordable. I'm definitely going to continue purchasing from them, and can't see my loyalty waning any time soon. I really love it when you discover a range that just works for you. In all honesty there isn't a single product I've written about that I didn't like or wouldn't re-purchase, which is pretty good going.

Finally, I happened to see that their bath products are on offer in Waitrose at the moment, so I just had to treat myself!

Have you used Neal's Yard before?
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