“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz
Chocolate is one of life's great pleasures. It’s there when you are happy, when you are sad, and when you just fancy something truly delicious.
When I was young, and my parents and teachers would ask what did I want to be when I was older, and all the other children would say a vet or a fireman, I kept saying I wanted to work in a chocolate factory. I think Charlie and the chocolate factory had gone to my head. But that image of being a chocolate inventor, creating amazing chocolate treats was a beautiful dream…
Or is it just a dream?
This is quite possibly one of the most exciting things I’ve heard in ages! Cadbury, the legendary chocolatiers have an amazing campaign on where you can design your own chocolate bar that will be sold in shops! *Gasps!*
Yes really! From 1stJuly 2018 - 31stJuly 2018 anyone from the UK and Ireland can invent their very own Cadbury Dairy Milk bar, which could become the newest addition to the Cadbury Dairy Milk family! Imagine seeing your own creation sold in shops next to to the iconic Caramel or Fruit and Nut!
On the website, you can choose from a whopping 90,000 combinations of ingredients from caramel and cookies to rose and popping candy to the even more weird and wonderful such as turmeric or mustard!
Choose up to three flavours you think will make a delicious bar, give it a fun and memorable name, and give a little explanation about it.
I’ve gone for Marshmallow, apple and a sprinkle of hundreds and thousands for a sweet and fun bar. I mean who can resist a candy-tastic bar like that? Why the apple I hear you ask? Well I actually discovered an amazing homemade treat a while back which you’ll love. It’s sort of like a s'more but instead of biscuits, chocolate and marshmallow, you sandwich melted chocolate and marshmallow between two slices of apple. Oh it's so good. The hundreds and thousands on top are to give it a little extra pizazz
Each entry will go through a rigorous judging process where they will be scored against taste and creativity. 3 finalists will then have the opportunity to visit Cadbury’s Centre of Excellence where they'll get to create their bars in the actual Cadbury factory. Each of these bars will be available for a limited time in 2019 and then the nation can vote for their favorite.
The winning bar will then become the latest addition to the iconic Cadbury Dairy Milk range as a fully fledged member of the Cadbury family.
Make sure you get creative now, as this really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Entries close midnight on the 31st July, so all that's left to do is get inventing!
Last year it was all the rage to wear tiny tiny crop tops during summer, which are all well and good, but I'll be honest, I'm glad that trend has moved on a bit. I'm all for body confidence, but when I'm planning on a huge BBQ feast, a crop top is not my first choice.
Which is why I'm rejoicing that floaty floral maxi dresses are this summers big staple. You can't miss them on Instagram, bloggers and in every shop window.
At first you may think a floral maxi might be a little frumpy. On paper it doesn't sound particularly modern, however I found it to be the most versatile item I own right now and a floral maxi has become my go to for so many occasions.
One of my favourite dresses I own right now is this gorgeous number by Walter Baker. Walter Baker an amazing brand I discovered last year and have come to own a number of pieces from them, and this dress is no exception. I love the tiered ruffle detail and the nipped in waist makes sure you dint look like you are wearing a tent. But it's the big buckle straps on the shoulders that really make this a modern dress and take it from fuddy to fabulous.
Day time dressing
Maxi dresses are made for day time dressing. Light, airy, they are a cool way to cover up. In fact maxi dresses often add a bit of flare to a day time dress as they make a statement that a mini dress just can't.
When it comes to floral, light prints work well, but try to avoid fussy as it can look like your grandma's curtains. 2018 has been all about ruffles, layers and cut outs. Whilst a maxi dress can often be thought of as a cutesy dress, choose on instead with some edgy details like cold shoulders, statement ruffles or an unusual neckline.
For the evening
Maxi's aren't just for the day time. Whilst your first thought for an evening dress would be to go short, a maxi dress can actually be just as, if not more alluring. An evening dress can really make a statement here, with a thigh split or a plunging neckline.
To keep it elegant rather than frumpy, try to stick to more fitted styles such as a cinched in waist or a fitted bodice.
In the evening, you can really go to town with the fabrics and the detailing too. Silks, beads and lace can take a simple floral dress from day time picnic to night time dinner.
The floral maxi dress is everywhere right now and shows no signs of going away, especially during this heat wave we are having. Theres a shape and style to suit everybody so get ready to embrace longer days and even longer lengths this summer.
Well whilst geographically you are making your way over to our European neighbour, in fact this is part of Britain.
Welcome to Jersey.
A few weeks ago, I headed to the channel island for a little weekend break with my mum. It's great for a weekender as it's only an hour flight out of London and with the island being only 5 miles long and 9 miles wide, it's completely explorable in a short amount of time.
In my next post I'll show you around the island, but today I wanted to show you where to stay.
Located in the heart of the capital, The Club Hotel and Spa is a 5* hotel with plenty of amenities and home touches.
I stayed in their double deluxe, which is the hotels standard room, but it is a good size for a short break, as there is a desk, chair and a small sofa as well as a king size bed.
Each room comes with all the usual amenities you'd expect, such as laptop size safe, mini bar and kettle for those morning coffees.
I did find the decor to be a little dated for a 5* boutique hotel, such as those busy patterned thin carpets that are usually in premier inns as they are easier to clean. For a hotel that really pushes the boutique aspect, it would have been nice to see a little more flair in design.
I did however appreciate the Elemis products in the bathroom, which did give it a more luxurious touch.
The Club Spa is a small private spa that is free to use for all hotel quests or day passes can be bought for outside guests. There is an indoor and outdoor pool, a thermal suite and five treatment rooms.
The pool inside is a salt water pool which aids relaxation and cleans the skin. Although mimicking the sea made it a little cold for my liking. Continuing this theme of salt, there is a salt cabin, herbal steam room and experience showers. I'm the biggest fan of steam rooms and could have stayed there all day.
There are also 4 treatment rooms, 3 singles and 1 twin for couples or friends. There is a range of treatments on offer, from facials and massages to the more unusual mud treatments and Ayurveda.
I opted for a healthy glow facial as whilst I do just have pretty normal skin, it tends to lack lustre and glow so I'll go for any extra help I can get.
My 55 minute facial was really relaxing. The treatment rooms were clad in a lovely dark mahogany that gave it a relaxing enclosed feeling, and with soft wind chime music playing, it felt homely and peaceful. My therapist explained every step to me, but didn't intrude on the relaxing downtime either.
Afterwards my skin looks smooth and fresh, and I got to take away the eye patches she used as they could be used up to 3 more times if kept in the fridge.
There's also a small enclosed outside terrace which when the sun is out is nice quiet space at the back of the hotel to sit and relax in.
Food and drink
There is a few different options at The Club Hotel and Spa.
The main restaurant that everyone flocks to is called Bohemia which has won a Michelin star. I have a separate blog post all about this so stay tuned.
But there are a few other options too.
First, lets talk about the honesty bar. I love the idea of an honesty bar, and it makes it feel more homely and relaxed. The honesty bar is a cute little nook area, with hundreds of book and board games for guests to borrow over their stay. Then the bar area how soft drinks and alcohol which is one help yourself basis, and all your asked is to leave sign your name and drink on the form and it will be added to your bill. It's a wonderful idea as when you just want to curl up with a good book, you don't need to bug anyone for a drink.
Breakfast is downstairs in their casual dining room.
As a guest the continental breakfast is included with a range of cold cuts, cereals and pastries on offer. Or there is the a la carte at an additional cost. The a la carte actually has some really nice options on it and would recommend. I opted for duck eggs and chorizo which was a really nice treat.
In the Bohemia bar they offer afternoon tea packages too from 2:30 until 5pm.
I liked how they brought out a selection of teas, and many unusual teas I had never heard of before.
The selection of sandwiches was the good old classics and the scones were fluffy and warm, and let me tell you, these weren't those small little ones you get either. They were quite the handful.
I have to tell you though about Black butter. It's actually not a butter but more of a... jam? The only way to describe it, is it tastes like Christmas. Fruits, and spices you get during the holiday season. It's really good and I really hope to see it become more mainstream.
The cake selection was beautiful. Delicate designs which were very impressive to behold. There was an opera cake, a strawberries and cream mousse and a lemon tartlet that was in the shape of a fan.
We left feeling full and very happy after being very well looked after by the waiting staff.
My only little niggle was that I'd asked if I could have an early sitting as I had a flight to catch but they said they couldn't do earlier than the 2:30pm which only leaves a small window to come and have afternoon tea. I realise its 'afternoon' tea but at a hotel I'm sure many people like myself have afternoon flights back to the main land, so it might be a good idea to open up the times a bit more.
Final impressionsThe Club Hotel and Spa is a lovely little hotel in a fantastic location for the town, the harbour and the airport. Bohemia restaurant is a fantastic asset to the hotel so make sure to check back soon for that review post. Whilst the decor is a little dated for a boutique 5* hotel, the staff are wonderful and the amenities are great. Whilst it's not a destination hotel, it's perfect as your base for a long weekend away on this amazing island.
I’ll get straight into it. Polo has not been on my radar previously. I didn’t attend a private school or ride horses growing up, so it seems quite alien to me. I guess I held the preconception that it was a upper class sport and events surrounding it were only attended by those who run in those sort of circles. I mean sure, lets be frank the Royal family play polo so it’s hardly the sport of those kicking it down the local recreation park. However the overall game and events surrounding it are open to everyone and is far more inclusive than I let myself believe.
Which brings me onto Polo In The Park. Polo In The Park is bringing polo to a wider and newer audience. Whilst the event is still a classy affair, it is more accessible to everyone who wants to enjoy the refined game in a fun setting.
Held at Hurlingham park in Fulham, Polo In The Park is a little like going to the races. The field is in the centre surrounded by the stands, pop up shops and food and drink areas.
I was however going slightly more glam for this event. As a guest of La Martina, the world famous polo brand who are a main sponsor of Polo In The Park. Started in 1985, La Martina is a family company focusing on Polo technical equipment, clothing and accessories, both for on and off the field. La Martina is the market leader in the technical polo wears but they are also pushing for more clothing recognition off the field too with their beautiful stitched polo shirts and dresses. Also surprisingly they have some really gorgeous handbags too which I'd use everyday in the summer.
The sponsored tent has prime view of the field and even a small outdoor garden for watching it whilst seated (well heels and all day standing don't really go well together)
Like it's racecourse neighbours, the polo is an opportunity to really dress up. I actually did have a panic as the dress I was supposed to wear didn't arrive (and funnily enough one week on still hasn't arrived in the post) however if you are wondering what to wear, for the ladies, summery dresses seemed to be the winner as did jumpsuits too. Hats aren't required here and I would say its less formal than Ascot so don't panic about the hem length or thickness of your dress straps!
I did use the opportunity to take this beauty out for a spin. Say hello to the Launer Travita! I want to take it everywhere with me!
After a few drinks with everyone, including my first Pimm's of the year, it was time for some food.
I can't remember the exact ingredients in this cheesecake (bad blogger) but let me tell you, this cheesecake was the best! I really wanted to eat the one that someone left but that wouldn't have been very refined at me... when at the polo eh.
After lunch I wandered over to the La Marina pop up shop to have a browse and meet some of the Oxford University polo players. Do you think I blend in?
Funnily enough this is the closest I've ever got to riding a horse. Probably should wear something different for the real thing.
Shop My Look
I headed over to the pony pen to say hello to the horses before they went out onto the field. Aren't horses just majestic creatures?
Before the main event kicked off, there was a match of La Martina bicycle polo between Oxford and Cambridge which was quite hilarious! Lets just say its really hard to ride and hit without falling over.
And then the main event! London vs Cape Town. The game moves so fast, it really is incredible the coordination skills they all have.
Now you might be wondering, will I enjoy polo? Well I'm not a sport person really, I don't watch football, rugby or tennis yet I soon got into this and was cheering on London at the top of my voice. So much happens so much quicker than other sports that its really fun to watch.
We might think that we rule supreme when it comes to polo but by half time Cape Town were leading 6-0.
However with a little magic support of their home crowd, London clawed back some points in the second half although sadly we still lost with a respectable 6-8.
The polo was so much fun. I had no idea what to expect when I headed to Fulham and yet it was such a great day out. Plus the weather was perfect for it! If you've been wondering whether the polo is for you, I'd highly recommend. It's not at all stuffy and is a great opportunity to dress up and have a great time with friends. Now where can I go to ride my first horse?
The funny thing about the British weather is when it’s bad, it’s pretty darn bad. But when it’s good, oh it’s glorious. And the last two weekends, how glorious has it been? I mean, not so much during the week, when your rammed onto the tube commuting, but when you have the whole day to do as you like, it is a dream.
There are many things you can do with your summer weekends, but one of my absolute favourites has to be the great British picnic.
There is something about eating outside that just feels so right. Maybe it’s being amongst nature, maybe it’s the fresh air, or just the fact that it’s a break from routine.
So, at the weekend, off I went for my first summer 2018 picnic.
But what makes a great picnic?
Let’s talk location. Sure you can have a picnic anywhere, but you’ll want to find a spot comfortable enough that you can settle for a few hours. I’d recommend, if you are going to a park, finding a spot away from the crowds, so you can have some peace whilst still observing. Also if it is a hot day, make sure to grab a patch of shade so you don’t burn as easily.
And what do you bring your items in? I’m all for a picnic basket over a cooler. I just love the classic look of a basket, and it feels more like a special occasion. I got mine from Tesco for only £20 and it even came with plates and glasses, so it doesn't need to cost the earth.
Now, the food and drink it pretty important if you ask me. But let’s start with the drink.
You can take a picnic from zero to hero with one quick pop of a wine bottle. Imagine relaxing at your favourite beauty spot with a crisp glass of wine. Sounds perfect right?
My preferred choice this summer is Villa Maria’s Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc. If you don’t know, Villa Maria, hailing from New Zealand, has recently been named one of the UK’s most admired wine brands and has won countless other awards. Started in 1961 as a one-man band, they've now grown to be New Zealand’s most awarded winery for over 30 years.
When it comes to dinner, I’m more of a red wine drinker, as I like a fruiter and sweeter wine. However, if you are like me, then can I tempt you to the white side? Their Private Sauvignon Blanc is a lovely crisp wine. It’s extremely fresh and almost tropical in taste. In my opinion dry white wines range vastly in how dry they are. This one is fruitier and whilst it isn’t a sweet wine, it is lighter than other dry whites I've had recently, and honestly one of the best ones I've had in a good while. This makes it the perfect day wine, as the fruity taste make it a really easy drinker. I really like Villa Maria wines, as they are all elegant and delicious, without leaving you questioning the taste and notes of it, which I find confusing, and wondering why I don't get wines more.
Now the food. Picnics are all about small portions. Nibbles, bite size, whatever you call them, it should be about lots of small things to try and graze leisurely on.
It can be a struggle a plate and knife fork whilst sitting grass so opting for finger-food rather than items needing cutting is best. Whilst sandwiches are an obvious choice, I’d always suggest build your own rather than pre-made. Often fillings cause the bread to go soggy on the journey, so instead pack some baguettes that can be torn open, and provide meats, cheeses and jams for easily assembling when there.
Salads are a perfect addition too, as they are easy enough to throw together and can be passed round the group. I’d recommend a caprese salad as the mozzarella and sweetness from the cherry tomatoes would go really well with the sauvignon blanc.
Of course, no picnic would be complete without the sweets. As we have chosen a fruiter, lighter wine, you really can’t not indulge.
I swear strawberries are mandatory in Britain to have at a picnic but I’m also a big fan of a donuts and pastries too.
But of course most of all, it’s about the company you are with. So grab your nearest and dearest and settle down for some quality time away from the hustle and bustle of the week and just enjoy this great British weather, as well, who knows how long it will last for?
This post was sponsored by Villa Maria, but all content and opinions is my own. Photography by Rebecca Carpenter
Ever since I was a kid I wanted to travel and see more of the world. We didn't get to go abroad as a family when I was young, but I patiently waited, knowing my time would come. What I didn’t know was that travel would become such a big part of my life, that I actually got to include it in my work. Fast forward to today and I now go away roughly 8 times a year which for someone with a full time corporate job is pretty good going.
I’ve found with travel not just as a blogger but as a general trend, we tend to be less switched off than we used to be. Whether that’s using our phones as maps and guidebooks, updating social media on what Instagrammable moment we are having, or taking endless photos and then editing them on a computer.
Whilst all of these might be helpful to us, fun for us or just part of our jobs, we have to ask, what impact is this having on our eyes?
I’ve always struggled with bad eyes. From when I was young and my Dad saying I was blind as a bat, to at work when I was trying to give a presentation and I realised I couldn’t see the numbers on the screen, my eyes have plagued me. I’ve been standing at an airport alone and had to ask someone to read the flight gates to me as I couldn’t see that far.
Fast forward to a year ago I finally relented and got glasses. To be fair, they are pretty smart, Chanel ones, and boy can I see, but that vain feeling still remains- do I look like a librarian?
I have to admit, I don’t wear them as often as I should. Yes, I have that warped perception that I’m prettier without them, and look geeky with them. I would never go to a party or a bar wearing them and even if I wasn’t quite so vain, I do sometimes find them inconvenient. Going to the gym, I can’t really be jumping around in glasses, or taking photos, you just can’t look through a view finder with glasses. Minor things, but its lots of little minor things that add up.
And so I have come to discover the world of contact lens, and you know what? Why didn’t I go down that route before?
So let’s start from the beginning shall we? I went for a fitting of ACUVUE Oasys 1-Day with HydraLuxe and immediately at that appointment I learnt more about my eyes than I had ever known. In a nutshell my eyes were quite overworked basically from the constant strain of using screens. I work in technology during the day so am on my computer for 9 hours a day, then on the tube I’m on my phone, then when I get home I’m usually on my laptop blogging, and so actually never off a screen, which had led to near constantly strain on my eyes. No only was my vision bad, my eyes were incredibly dry. My left eye in particular is very dry and I needed to stop straining it, and fast.
And so wearing ACUVUE Oasys 1-Day with HydraLuxe would do two things. One, I was more likely to wear these everyday and for longer and so wouldn’t be straining my eyes as much on screens and trying to read things at a distance, and two, they actually help keep your eyes hydrated and fight the effects of straining.
So why are these so good for traveling?
UV protectionDid you know ACUVUE Oasys 1-Day with HydraLuxe lenses have the highest level of UV blocking available in a contact lens on the market? When you go away you put on sunscreen right? Well think of this as that but for your eyes. It never occurred to me before but now it makes perfect sense to protect them.
Hello sight and sunglasses! This has been a huge problem for me! It’s bright sunshine, I need sunglasses and yet as soon as I take off my glasses I can’t see properly. Sure you could get those sunglasses with your prescription but then you are limited to just one pair of glasses, and come on, there's so much choice out there!
This was a huge thing for me, and actually a sort of wow moment when I first looked through my viewfinder wearing contacts. First of all, my god was my focus off! Suddenly I could turn the dial and see the image I was about to take so sharply. This has helped my photography no end, as before I couldn’t look through my camera with glasses on, and taking them off made it difficult to see if a photo was truly sharp or not. As someone who not only loved photography, but also gets paid to take photos, it’s paramount that they are perfect. With contacts I can quickly take photos on the go and no faff about with my glasses and hoping the images are sharp. It even gets to the point now where I’m frustrated if I’m not wearing a pair, as I know I could be missing out.
Ease of use
I was worried they were going to be really tricky to put in, but honestly they are incredibly simple. I mean sure, not everyone is comfortable putting things near their eyes. Luckily, I’m quite comfortable with things near my eyes. I think use women have a natural advantage here as we are used to a mascara wand going close to our eyes. It took me only one attempt to be able to put it in, and only a couple of attempts to take one out. This coupled with the fact that as they are only one day use, there's no messing with solution on the road. Just pop a packet in your bag, and each day just put in a new pair. And don’t worry they really are comfortable, so much so in fact I just forget I’m wearing any.
Honestly, wearing Acuvue contact lens has been a game changer for me when travelling. I know that my eyes are going to be protected and that I can actually see clearly and work smarter now. I recently went to Athens and for the first time, I left my glasses at home and just wore contacts. I was worried that in very hot weather they might get irritated but I didn't find that at all. Infact my eyes didn't have that dry tight feeling they usually do in hot climates.
Athens has some truly incredible sights, and trust me, I want to be able to see them in all their sharp, focused glory.
If you’ve had your eyes tested but haven’t been offered contact lenses, don’t be afraid to ask - they may be suitable for you too. To get your own free trial of ACUVUE® OASYS 1-Day Contact Lenses, head to: https://www.acuvue.co.uk/free-contact-lens-trial
This post was sponsored by ACUVUE® OASYS 1-Day Contact Lenses but as always the content, words, photos and opinions are my own.
One great thing about London is that it loves a good pop up. Every night of the week there is practically a new pop up somewhere that will get everyone racing down. We’ve had a hallumi cafe, an avocado restaurant, and now theres a Laurent-Perrier bar.
Ah my love for Laurent-Perrier continues. Regular readers will know that it has been my favourite champagne house for many many years now. Birthdays and celebrations are always accompanied by a bottle… or two.
Which is why I had to head on over to their new summer garden pop up at Icon Balcony Bar.
I had actually never heard of Icon Balcony Bar before, but it’s right in the centre of Leicester sure over looking the fountain. The bar is part of the Empire casino, but you’ll feel worlds away from a casino.
The pop up represents a summer garden. With soft “grass”, deck chairs and of course plenty of flowers. The day we went it had been raining in the morning and was still quite grey, however we decided to still sit outside as honestly what is better than sitting out on a terrace drinking champagne? Plus they do offer you blankets if you think you might need one, although after this weekends weather, I’d say that won’t be necessary.
The balcony terrace is a cute little space, with fairy lights strung up and flowers wrapped around the balcony. But the most striking and of course, photogenic piece is the huge pink birdcage that sits on the balcony. The birdcage represents Laurent-Perrier as it is part of its signature style. The birdcage is actually a small seat for 2 although again as it had been raining sadly I didn’t sit down in it.
But onto the main event, the Laurent-Perrier. So the deal is, 1 glass of Laurent-Perrier Cuvée and 2 Laurent-Perrier cocktails of your choosing, with some paired popcorn by Joe and Seph for £23. £23 for three Laurent-Perrier champagne drinks is great value as you’d usually pay about £14 a glass for Laurent-Perrier.
I decided to go for Amaretto, cherry, lemon, blackberry as I love cherry, and Hendricks, elderflower, apple, passion fruit as it sounded so refreshing. The cocktails are on the sweeter side here and will certainly get you into the summer mood. My paired popcorn was Eton Mess and never having had Joe and Seph before I was quite impressed. They are an award winning gourmet popcorn company and having tried the Eton Mess flavour which was delicious I can see why. I could also certainly have ate another pot so thats validation.
I naturally had a sip out of everyones drinks, for research purposes of course. Most of them were delicious and actually my favourite of the night was the Monkey 47, lemon, violette, sage, pomegranite, rosemary drink. Who would have thought that one would have been the winner? But honestly it's so refreshing. Although sadly I’d say maybe don’t order the cherry cocktail which is a shame as I love cherries, however it was incredibly tart and did actually taste just of cherry juice. For me it was too overpowering.
With all those drinks flowing we decided to order a platter. The platters aren’t strictly part of the pop up and are from the regular bar menu so some might not think chicken wings and champagne go together, but I beg to differ.
The balcony terrace is a great little venue, and I’d definitely recommend sitting outside, and with the weather we’ve been having this weekend, it would be the perfect summers day treat.
Who doesn’t love a good facial? 60 minutes of someone dedicated to making your face look fabulous. I mean are we really going to spend 60 minutes at home pampering our face? Hardly. But when a facial can cost £60+ it’s not a treat not an everyday occurrence, and so we will need to spend some precious moments in our home bathroom instead.
If I’m feeling like my skin needs some extra love and attention or I have some time on my hands say at the weekend, I have 5 hero products that I use for a complete facial experience. Each one I have been using for months if not years for some and have come to really love each one. So let’s go through them.
Garnier Micellar Water is an all round amazing product. I could not be without this in my bathroom cabinet. I just find it so incredibly multipurpose. Cleansing my skin, cleaning up makeup mistakes, to even help clean my makeup brushes.
But for an at home facial, I have to start with this. This preps the base and makes sure there’s not makeup and other surface grime on the skin left. I use the oil version as I find it so effective for getting makeup off. There literally is nothing it can’t remove, but if you have oily skin they do sensitive and normal versions too.
Once my skin is clear, I go in and cleanse. Ilapothecary is a brand I recently discovered and now their Mud Cleanser is a staple in my cabinet too. A vitamin rich cleanser it’s super powerful however why I love it as a at home facial product is that you can leave a fairly thick layer on as a mud mask and it sets just enough so you can lie and let it really work in. Depending on how much time I have, I leave it on for anything from 5-15 minutes before washing off. Trust me, you’ll feel squeaky clean after that.
Ah Korean beauty. It’s all the rage isn’t it? And one of the big things they’ve brought over are sheet masks. Personally I love them, as all you have to do is peel on and relax.
Puriface Marine Purifying Korean Algae Sheet mask helps cleanse pores and hydrate which is key for me as I’m very susceptible to large visible pores.
I’ve been using sheet masks as part of a weekly treat for a while now and really love how they make my skin feel and look.
Leave on for 15-20 as the next step in your at hone facial, and I promise you your skin will glow.
Next it’s time to moisture surge your skin with Clinique Moisture Surge. This is my absolute favorite moisturizer and I actually use it everyday, however for that facial experience, put on a thickish layer like a mask and leave on for 5 minutes to really drench your skin. Even after you wash it off, your skin will feel so soft and hydrated.
Finally, layer on that serum. For a special treat, I use Decleor Hydra Floral, anti pollution hydrating fluid.
As you can see I’m big on hydration for my skin. It’s key to keeping it plump and youthful as long as possible. I apply a thin layer to my skin and give myself a little facial massage to work it into the skin.
After all of that my skin looks amazing and I’m either ready to face the world, or in need of a good nap, depending on how you look at facials.
These products can be used time and time again, saving you a considerable amount compared to a spa facial, and are great for those moments when you need a little TLC but don’t have the means to get to a spa.
After the royal wedding this weekend, I think most people will agree in that we are all feeling a little bit more British. And what is a bloody brilliant British tradition? Afternoon tea.
I love afternoon tea. I'd always choose afternoon tea over lunch but also i'm quite picky with my teas. If something isn't up to scratch I'll say so.
Funnily enough, sticking with the royal wedding theme, I headed to The Athenaeum hotel which is a hotel literally across the street from Green Park where Buckingham Palace sits. It's less than a 10 minute walk door to door.
A name in the London restaurant scene may have heard of dozens of times is the Galvin Brothers. Famed for their high end French restaurants such as Window's and La Chapelle, they have recently moved into more British cuisine and never more evident with their afternoon at The Athenaeum.
The tea is hosted in their garden room which is a small but elegant downstairs bar, but what is quite impressive is their "living wall" which gives a feel of a garden terrace without the noice or cold that that could bring in central London.
We ordered the Royal Afternoon Tea (come on we had to!) and soon it arrived filling the table.
The list of sandwiches read like a list of the finest ingredients; Eggs Drumkilbo bridge roll with James Baxter’s potted shrimps, Cumbrian beef & Coleman’s horseradish on beetroot bread, Regents park honey roasted Dukeshill ham, mustard mayonnaise on brioche, H. Foreman and Son smoked salmon & cream cheese on multigrain bread and Coronation chicken on white bread.
The salmon and cream cheese was delicious, although I'm slightly confused as to why there was only one and not two when it's a two person tea. The coronation chicken was also perfect and a standout sandwich of the set.
Then of course came the scones. Now how do you put your jam and cream on? Because let me tell you seeing as we are on the subject of Royals. The Queen puts her cream on first, and so I think thats the true confirmation there eh?
All the jams here also come from Royal Warrant Holders, making this a truly regal experience.
Finally the cakes arrived. Now I will say, some were good, others were not to my liking. The giant macaron was fantastic, and baked and flavoured so ell. Also the chocolate orange tartlet was delicious. However the eclair and the opera cake, I found too mousse-y and sickly for my liking.
People often ask, what is your favorite time of year? Well when it comes to being in London, it has to be spring. London is in full bloom is spring, with Wisteria covering houses, blossom trees sprinkling petals across the roads and of course all the shops coming out with their flower displays.
Well one thing I didn't expect to get hit by flower fever was the London red buses, and yet, as I turned onto Victoria Embankment, there was a very floral red bus.
Now sadly this isn't just the new look for the regular public transport, but instead, a special afternoon tea bus to celebrate the launch of Godiva's Wonderful City Dream collection.
The Wonderful City Dream collection is all about honouring the home cities of Godiva’s chocolatiers. There is New York for chef Thierry Muret who has chosen caramel cheesecake flavour, chef Philippe Daue from Shanghai has created a white chocolate ganache with lychee and roasted hazelnut chocolate. For Tokyo's chef Yannick Chevolleau he has created a caramel, orange and Yuzu milk chocolate ganache and finally Chef Jean Apostolou selected a white chocolate filled with strawberry and violet ganache to represent London complete with the iconic red double-decker bus as the decoration on top.
To celebrate these dreamy new chocolates launching, Godiva has put on a bus tour around London, complete with afternoon tea featuring dishes from each of the chocolate cities.
So all aboard everyone!
But first, how dreamy is this bus? Can all buses please be like this in future?
This was is actually a specially designed afternoon tea bus by a company called B Bakery. They do afternoon tea bus tours and when they look like this I’ve already promised my mum I’ll take her on another one.
This tea though had a slight twist. Each item represented the country a chocolate cake from. So we had things like sushi for Tokyo and pastrami on rye for New York.
One of the more unconventional pit stops was to the Godiva Regent Street shop. Now when I say we basically got free reign I kind of really do mean it. It was every girls dream!
As well as trying all the classic Godiva chocolates and a few of their famous chocolate dipped strawberries, I finally laid my hands on the Wonderful City Dreams collection.
Now no word of a lie, they really are incredible chocolates. Usually there’s one or two in a box that I don’t like, but not this collection, I loved every single one.
It’s a very summery collection, as they are sweet and some very fruity. I’m not just saying this as I’m from London, but the London chocolate is far my favourite. Honestly I could eat that one again and again. Tokyo did follow in a close second though- yuzu if you aren’t aware is a fruit. It’s sort of like a mandarin I guess, but either way it tastes amazing.
Oh but before I left I really did need to try one of their chocolate shakes. My god it’s insanely good but how you can drink one and not feel very full is beyond me. It’s cream, ice cream, Godiva chocolates and chocolate sauce. It’s heaven but maybe share with a friend?
As the bus took us around London to see it’s famous landmarks, it felt quite surreal drinking a glass of prosecco on a London red bus.
I can’t wait for the sun to come (ok make that stay) out so I can have some picnics in London’s amazing parks. This chocolates would be the perfect addition to one. Or maybe even at any Royal Wedding parties you are having this weekend? I can’t wait to see that!