Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Home Pamper Sessions

Now that the cold weather is upon us, one of my absolute favourite things to do of an evening is a little home pamper. Giving yourself a little TLC doesn't have to cost spa prices, and there's nothing that a little 'me-time' can't fix.

I like to take my make-up off and tie my hair back, then run a hot Lush bath with loads of bubbles. While the water is running I get some clean PJ's and pop them on the radiator to warm while I'm soaking (I know, such a granny!)
My next step is to put on a hair mask, at the moment I'm loving the Spirulina and Avocado Oil mask by Organik Botanik Australia that I picked up recently, it smells amazing and is packed full of nutrients that my hair really needs now I'm back to the bleach. There was also a coconut oil one that I'm kicking myself for not picking up!

Once I'm safely inside the bath I put on a Korean sheet mask. I'm so over clay masks now as I absolutely hate having to rinse them off my face and hairline (I always miss bits!) I picked up loads from Innisfree a while ago that worked out really cheaply in bulk from Amazon. They really do make my skin feel incredible and really glowy, and as they're gentle they never sting. Even though my sheet mask stash is getting a little out of hand, I also picked up two by Tony Moly (Broccoli and Tomato) that are amazing, and totally joining my collection very soon. 

After this I lie back and relax, either with a good book or with Netflix (at the moment I'm loving 'The Crown') before finishing off my pamper with a generous amount of body lotion, putting on my warm PJ's and getting into bed. 

Do you like a home pamper session?


Sunday, 27 November 2016

Fat Face Winter Wishlist

It's no secret by now that I'm a teensy bit obsessed with Fat Face, right?
I absolutely adore almost everything they bring out, and the new winter range is no exception. I was having a browse through the new catalogue the other night, and these are just a few of the things I'd love Santa to bring me:

I love lounge wear, there's no better feeling than coming home and getting changed into some super comfy clothes, and these pants look so soft and cosy. 

A new gilet has been on my wishlist for a while, and this one is exactly what I've been looking for. I love it in the shade 'cumin' as it's a little bit different, and also really perfect for this time of year. I love that it's got a removeable hood and is fleece lined too!

I'm obsessed with hoodies and practically live in them at home, This one has a built in snood which makes it look all the more snuggly, and perfect with lounge pants.

These slippers look so cute and cosy, and they're a fraction of the price of Ugg slippers (which they remind me of) I have weird heels, boot slippers never stay on my feet for some reason, so these slip ons would be perfect for keeping my toes warm!

I love a simple roll neck, they look so good with jeans and layered underneath dresses, gilets, cardigans etc. Plus they're always really cosy and warm! I love this boyfriend fit one, it's casual but still smart enough for work.

What do you think of my picks?


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Renaissance Barcelona Fira Hotel

One of my favourite things in the world is trying out new hotels, after all this is the main reason I decided to start blogging, as I've always loved writing hotel reviews. 
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I went away for a little break to Barcelona and while there we stayed at the Renaissance Barcelona Fira Hotel; which is without a doubt one of the most stunning hotels I've ever stayed in.

I've stayed at a couple of different Renaissance hotels in the past, and without being biased they're a chain I particularly love, especially after being invited to write about their Rlife Live Event last year.
When browsing for a hotel to stay in in Barcelona, as soon as I came across this one I knew it would be a safe bet.

The hotel is situated in the L'Hospitalet de Llobregat area of the city, and is a 5 minute walk to the Europa-Fira metro station, which makes accessing the city centre incredibly simple. It's the perfect balance because you're slightly out of the centre of town while still being near enough to be there in 10 minutes.
Onto the hotel itself, the decor is absolutely beautiful. Everything is completely white, which although may sound a bit stark, it looks incredibly modern and stylish, as well as very clean.

The hotel has several stand-out features: one is the window thats carved into the wall in the shape of a leaf (all the windows are the same shape and when you look at hotel from the outside, it gives the appearance of being covered in palm leaves!)
The second is that the corridors, stairways and lifts are all actually outside, which is something I've never seen in a hotel and is hard to explain without seeing for yourself (but can be seen in the pictures below). All the stairwells are filled with plants and greenery so it gives the impression of being a giant botanical garden!

As soon as you walk into the lobby, you feel like you're stepping into luxury, but despite that it feels welcoming and not at all stuffy. The lobby has a mirrored roof, comfy leather chairs and the coolest (and most eclectic) collection of coffee table books I think I've ever seen! I wanted to take them all home with me and start my own library.
We (obviously) sampled some cocktails at the bar during our trip too, and as expected they were delicious.
In terms of facilities, the hotel also has a jacuzzi and a rooftop pool. I was so disappointed that we missed it by one day (it closes for winter on October 31st and we arrived on the 1st) as I really wanted to check the stunning panoramic sunset from the roof!

The food and drink at the hotel was also incredible, there was so much choice for breakfast including fresh fruit, pastries, bread and cheese, and hot cooked items. I had a fresh omelette every morning and it didn't disappoint!
On one evening we ate at the 'Palmer' restaurant which was lovely with fabulous service. I had the hake supreme with artichokes parmentiere and lobster sauce, followed by the chocolate coulant - both were amazing!

All in all I really couldn't rate this hotel highly enough, every aspect of our stay was brilliant and we didn't want to leave! It's ideally situated for any trip to Barcelona and I'd definitely stay there again!

Have you ever stayed at this hotel?

Monday, 21 November 2016

Life Lately Through My Camera Roll

So it actually feels like forever since I last did one of these posts! 
I'm loving Autumn so far (apart from the torrential rain battering against my window as I type!), this is absolutely my favourite time of year and I just love the crisp weather and blue skies we've been having so far!

1. Of course I ventured into Starbucks, who hasn't?! I much prefer the Costa Christmas drinks, but the rest of the time Starbucks is my fave! We had a gingerbread latte and a fudge hot chocolate, so sweet but soooo good!

2. I love bonfire night, as much for the cosy knitwear and the smell of the bonfire as for the fireworks themselves. My local display this year was so good, they're always just over too quickly!

3. At the moment I'm really loving The Crown on Netflix, it's not really my usual kind of thing but I'm hooked! It's so well done, and I'm finding it fascinating learning so much about the Queen and Prince Phillip - I'd definitely recommend it!

4. I finally got my hair done after months of moaning and I'm loving it! I'm back to my full thick fringe (I never really felt like me without it) and although you can't really tell from the photo, I've kept my ombre, but toned down the blonde to a much whiter shade, it feels so much fresher and I'm so happy with it!

5. In work we've been partaking in a little Cake Off competition, as inspired by GBBO! This was my Victorian Sponge and despite tasting ok, I don't think it was ever going to win any prizes for its looks! Starting to bake a cake at 10.30pm is never going to be a good idea really, is it?

6. For Remembrance Sunday I popped on my sparkly white poppy from Crown & Glory that I bought last year. It's so pretty and I've had so many compliments on it, and of course it's for such a good cause.

7. This time, on to Costa for a festive treat! Mint hot chocolate and the Merry Berry brownie made my Sunday extra sweet!

8. Ah, literally the boots of my dreams! I'm a huge sucker for boots, and have far too many pairs, but when my Mum and I popped into M&S while she was looking for some shoes, I spied this on the shelf and it was love at first sight! They're beautiful, I'm obsessed.

9. As I've mentioned before, I travel a lot for work and found myself driving along this beautiful mountain road, lined with the trees and their Autumn colours. I just had to hop out of the car to snap this pretty picture!

What have you been up to lately?

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Castle Hotel, Conwy

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago, and my present from my lovely Mum was a surprise night away at The Castle Hotel in Conwy. 
I've wanted to stay at this 300 year old former coaching inn for a long time, so I was pretty thrilled with this present, and I certainly wasn't disappointed on our arrival.
We were given a free upgrade to a deluxe twin and the room was decorated in a stately, classic country style decor. It's clear that the hotel is steeped in so much history, it felt like every nook and cranny had a story to tell.

After we'd settled in, we went down to Dawson's Bar & Snug for our evening meal. Not only were we spoilt for choice with the menu, there was also an extensive selection of gins which helped make our evening!
I opted for the hotel's speciality; the Trio of Fish and Chips which consisted of cod, haddock and salmon deep fried in welsh beer batter and served with minted peas and tartare sauce. My Mum chose the Conwy Valley slow braised Lamb Henry which was served with seasonal veg and bubble & squeak mash. Both our meals were utterly delicious.

We'd held off on starters so that we could indulge in a dessert, which again were fabulous. My chocolate fondant was melt in the mouth good, and my Mum's white chocolate mousse was to die for.
Not to mention that the service was great and the atmosphere was bustling, lively and traditional, perfect for a cosy Autumn evening.

After a blissful nights sleep it was time to check out, but this hotel was a real treat and certainly somewhere I'd love to return to.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Barcelona Photo Diary

As regular readers of this blog will know, I've got a bit of a love/hate relationship with Barcelona, having had a couple of disastrous trips there in the past (hospitalised with blood poisoning, severe flight cancellations anyone?)
Having said that, I'm always open to giving a place another chance and so off I headed back to Barcelona last week for a few days, and thankfully this time it was love, love, love.
We flew from Liverpool and landed to find sun and blue skies, which is definitely not to be sniffed at considering it's November. The temperature stayed the same for the duration of our trip which made a welcome change from the dreary grey weather at home!
Having now been to the city five times, there's definitely a few things I'd recommend if you're planning a trip there. Whether it's a whistlestop visit or a week long holiday, there's absolutely loads to see and do.

This huge open air market is jam packed full of local vendors selling fresh produce including fruit, veg, chocolates, juices, fish and huge joints of meat. It's located in the Liceu district and easily accessible by metro. It's easy to while away the time wandering the aisles looking at all the colourful and tasty treats on offer, and if you're feeling brave why not barter for a bargain?!

This majestic archway stands at the end of Passeig de Lluis Companies, and historically was built as a gateway between the old and new Barcelona, with agriculture and industry on one side, and art and commerce on the other. 
If you walk down the tree-lined avenue past the archway, you'll reach Parc de la Cuitadella which is a vibrant park containing all sorts of weird and wonderful things like a zoo, a statue of a giant mammoth, a bandstand and a beautiful central waterfall. 
This beautifully ornate music hall dates back to the early 19th century and is still open to this day. It's intricate Art Nouveau design resembles a musical box and includes stained glass, mosaic and sculptures. We didn't have a guided tour as it was quite expensive, and instead just marvelled at the outside of the building, but from researching it it seems to be a must-see.
On our way back from the winding streets surrounding the music hall, it was time to stop for lunch and we decided to try La Central Hamburgueseria Artesanal - a modern and cool industrial designed burger joint where you can pick your burger, bap and meat by ticking boxes on a piece of paper rather than having to order at the counter. This place was such a find and the burger was incredible.
Otherwise known as the Gothic Quarter, this is the old town of Barcelona and is where you'll find the Cathedral, City Hall, a few small churches and the remains of the synagogue from the old Jewish Quarter. This area is steeped in history and there's so much to see; it's the perfect place to relax with a coffee and people watch.
This area is synonymous with visiting Barcelona and is where you'll find a bustling street filled with market stalls and local crafts. There are countless cafes along La Ramblas, but we stopped in at Cafe de l'Opera -  described as a Barcelona institution. The cafe has an olde-worlde feel to it, with high art deco ceilings and waiters dressed in an old fashioned style. We sampled two Spanish specialities, Crema Catalana and Churros and both were delicious. 

It wouldn't be a trip to Barcelona without witnessing the wonder of the Gaudi architecture. I'm a huge fan of his work and during our trip we were lucky enough to have time to see all of it.

This was the only place we didn't go inside, but the architecture is undeniably Gaudi and this is said to look breathtaking lit up at night. The unique design perfectly demonstrate Gaudi's ethic of having no straight lines or sharp corners as there are none in nature.
This modernist building is instantly recognisable for its curved windows and skull-like balconies. We paid to go inside and while expensive, its a sight to behold, filled with unique colours, decor and winding staircases. The price includes an audio tour which provides a fascinating insight into the history behind the building.
The views of the city from the roof are also amazing!

This (there's no other word for it) bonkers basilica in the centre of the city has been a project in the making since 1886, with Gaudi having worked on it for 43 years until his death in 1926. It's due to be completed in 2026 and in the five years since I first visited there has been loads of work done. It's a must-see when visiting Barcelona, as it is one of the greatest pieces of architecture ever seen, and is truly breathtaking.
Last but not least, this public park filled with gingerbread-esque houses is also designed by Gaudi. It's a bit of a trek out of the centre of town, and since my last visit has been chargeable which seems a bit cheeky! Only the area of the park containing the 'monumentals' is chargeable though, and the rest of the park can be walked around for free. 

Have you visited Barcelona?
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