Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Restaurant review | Kwan Thai

Where I ate:
Kwan Thai, St Nicholas Street, Ipswich
The Saturday before Christmas, Jake took me for dinner and had booked a table at a little Thai place called Kwan Thai. We’d ordered a takeaway from there before, which was very good, but had never actually eaten inside the restaurant. As everyone knows, I love Thai food and I think I’ve got him hooked too. Given how good the food was when we ordered it for collection, it’s fair to say I was excited.
The best way to describe the decor is to say it’s very stereotypical Oriental – traditional but very dated. It felt really festive as the Christmas decorations were up and it’s also very cosy. We were sat towards the back of the restaurant in a sort of cubby hole – the place is a really odd shape and there are all little nooks and crannies if you’re looking for a table for two. At least we were away from the larger parties so could enjoy some quiet.
The table was candle lit with fresh flowers and on arrival we had a bowl of prawn crackers, which went down very well indeed. We’d had a look at the menu beforehand so knew what we were going for.
What I ate:
A selection of mixed starters, followed by weeping tiger, chicken red curry, phad see ew and chicken fried rice
We chose one of the set menus for two, which was priced at £19.25 per person – great value considering the amount the number of dishes that arrived at the table. There was so much food and we were pretty full after the starters alone!
The mixed starter platter consisted of spring rolls (we swapped the prawn for vegetable as Jake doesn’t like seafood), aromatic chicken, chicken and beef satay, sesame prawn toasts and fried chicken in a sticky Thai red wine sauce. The starters were accompanied by four dipping sauces. The chicken in Thai sauce was a particular highlight as it was really unusual and not something I’d ever had at a Thai restaurant before; while the beef satay skewers were like strips of steak and really moreish.
After a little break, the main courses came out on a hot plate. I’ll start with my favourite – the weeping tiger. We ordered this before and it was incredible, but it was a hundred times better fresh! It obviously isn’t actually tiger, but a flame-grilled sirloin steak in strips, served in a sticky sweet teriyaki-style sauce. Honestly, it’s amazing and the restaurant’s most popular dish (just check out the rave reviews on Trip Advisor!).
The curry on the set menu is a choice of chicken or lamb massaman, but we swapped it for a traditional red curry (one of my favourites) – and chose chicken. It was a little hotter than I was expecting, but yummy nonetheless. There was plenty of chicken and bamboo shoots and the rice soaked up the sauce well. In all, I wasn’t disappointed.
I loved the flat noodles, which consisted of chicken, vegetable and egg and had I not been so full, would have easily eaten the whole portion. They had so much flavour and were wok-cooked so well. One of the things I love about Thai cooking is how incredibly simple it appears – yet every dish is cooked with so much love and care and the different flavours are divine.
We had no room for dessert and didn’t even peruse the menus, which is so unlike me. So after the refreshing towels, we got the bill and left. I know for a fact we’ll be returning as the service is good and the food is amazing... and I can’t wait!

Monday, 29 December 2014

Ciaté | Glitz Fix

If you read my Ciaté haul post, you’ll know I purchased the Glitz Fix lips kit. Well I finally tested out the other week for my work Christmas party and omg, the effect is incredible. Best of all, the kit is so easy to use – and this is coming from me, the most impatient person ever! I know a lot of people don’t like the innovation kits by Ciaté because they’re so messy and fiddly, but this really isn’t at all.
The kit
So each kit comes in a cute little box and contains three essential pieces of equipment:
1 ) transparent sealer
2) red glitter
3) little black brush
The boxes are small enough to keep in your makeup or toiletries bags, although I wouldn’t recommend keeping them in your handbag or clutch for on-the-go application. Everything is in plastic vacuumed packaging so stays in place and it’s handy that everything is kept together.
The method
Like I say, it’s so simple, but there are instructions on the back of the box.
1) Begin with a slick of the Glitz Grip transparent glitter sealer
2) Load up the applicator with glitter and gently roll directly onto your lips
3a) Build the glitter up in thin layers on the entire lip for a full coverage finish
3b) or dab to the centre of the lip and blend outward to create a glittering ombré finish
4) Sweep away any stray sprinkles using the mini lip fan brush for a clean finish
The result
Pretty, glittery lips – perfect for that special occasion, making a statement or just adding some much-needed glam to a fairly plain outfit. No matter how much you lick your lips (although that really isn’t recommended), the glitter stays and I found when I ate or drank, the glitter didn’t transfer and stayed in place. Eventually the sparkle fades and I found myself wiping it all off, before adding lippy. It is long-lasting though and the kit is definitely worth the cost. Thank you and well done to Ciaté for creating yet another fantastic innovative product. I love it!
Have you tried the Glitz Fix kit?

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Restaurant review | Zizzi

Where I ate:
Zizzi, Headgate, Colchester
On Friday I had my work Christmas party and we went to Zizzi, a restaurant I’d never been to. We had all made our meal choices at work a couple of weeks prior to the evening and on arrival, received a glass of prosecco (part of the package). As there was 13 of us, we had a long table, so conversation was difficult – but a good time was had by all. We also had crackers on the table and everyone wore their hat and told their rubbish joke!
What I ate:
Antipasti platter to share, followed by pollo prosciutto and vanilla pannacotta to finish
We began the evening with a couple of sharing platters – the first were two rustic boards of pizza bread: one mozzarella & caramelised onion and the other, tomato & pesto. We also had a plate of calamari, mixed cured meats and olives. I have to say I was disappointed by the calamari, which lacked flavour and was a bit chewy; but I loved the meats and olives, especially with the hot breads.
For my main course, I has chosen pollo prosciutto, which was  a chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto ham with a white wine sauce and served with Tuscan potatoes and green beans. It wasn’t memorable in the slightest and I found myself getting food envy when I saw what everyone else was eating. Mel chose the goats cheese and spinach ravioli with pine nuts, which was amazing (yep, that should have been my choice) and I tried some of Georgia’s mixed meat and bolognaise sauce calzone which was also lovely – there’s no way I could have eaten a whole one though. Luckily I seasoned my own dish which lots of pepper to give it some flavour. I didn’t eat the potatoes as they were barely roasted and boring and you can’t really go wrong with chicken!
It was all about dessert, which I ate in two mouthfuls – vanilla pannacotta with a red berry compote. I do love pannacotta though, so it was a good way to end the meal.
The wine was flowing throughout and we then went on to Slug & Lettuce and later, Hudson’s for more drinks. As I didn’t take any photos in the restaurant, here are a couple from later on...
The service wasn’t bad and you get what you pay for. I’m definitely not converted though – I’d say it’s on a similar scale to Ask or Strada and I’m not really a fan of those restaurants either. For a work Christmas meal it’s good as you can organise everything in advance and it’s all so fuss-free on the evening.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

I’m dreaming of a Lush Christmas

It’s no secret that I’m a massive Lushie and a couple of trips later and I’m armed with most of the Christmas range. I use Snow Fairy most of the year *hands over eyes* and I always receive a Father Christmas bath bomb in my stocking but a lot of these products I’ve never used before!
The Christmas Penguin | Bubble Bar
Pop in The Christmas Penguin for a mood-boosting bubble bath that will set you up for the festivities. The beautiful blend of orange flower absolute, Sicilian mandarin and lemon oils will revive and refresh your mind and skin. Crumble under running water to create bubbly glaciers and snow drifts.
I love the citrus-fragranced products (think Father Christmas and Brightside), so I’m definitely going to enjoy using this. I love the bubble bars as they’re re-usable and rumour has it, this little fella’s carrot nose is mini re-usable bar – I make that three baths out of one product!
Golden Wonder | Bath Bomb
If you're wondering what's inside this golden bath bomb, give it a shake and drop it in the bath to reveal its glittering contents. Soak in its soft citrus fragrance as the vibrant gifts inside unveil themselves and make you feel as if you're bathing in luxury. The uplifting blend of sweet orange, lime and cognac oils will leave you feeling cheerful.
I had to buy this bath bomb after the amazing review on Chloe’s blog and I’ve already decided I’ll be using it on Boxing Day; think of it as a late present. Although it was pain to put in the bag, I love the gold and the fact it’s like a gift is so cute. When you shake it, it makes a rattling noise and I can’t wait to see what’s inside.
Snow Angel | Bath Melt                              
This moisturising bath melt dissolves into a flurry of snow, blanketing the bath in white foam before revealing a shimmering golden glow. Rich in hydrating cocoa butter and blend of rose, benzoin and cassie absolute, this has a comforting light floral and delicate marzipan scent.
The last bath melt I bought was amazing – so rich and moisturising. I’m a huge fan of cocoa butter and the smell is definitely not as floral as it sounds. I actually bought this again recently by accident, so I’m hoping it’s as good as others have said. There’s SO much glitter, btw!
Dashing Santa | Bath Bomb
Make a dash for this moving Santa bath bomb with a cheerful and uplifting scent of satsumas at Christmas. Watch Santa fly about your bath as his golden boots fizz away, releasing toning mandarin oil, bergamot oil and orange flower absolute that help put a spring in your step, too.
You can’t beat satsumas this time of year and I love Dashing Santa. It reminds me so much of the Satsumo Santa which was discontinued a few years ago – and of course, the Father Christmas Ballistic. I wish I had stocked up on these little men.
Candy Mountain | Bubble Bar
Make bathtime an even sweeter time with this pink peak of a bubble bar. Crumble this under running water for mountains of glistening bubbles topped with a magical pink mist. The candy scent wafting through the steam includes Fair Trade vanilla absolute, wrapping you in a comforting embrace.
This is the fourth Candy Mountain bubble bar I’ve bought this year – I LOVE IT! Snow Fairy is my most favourite product of all time, so this for me is a winner. I love the pink, I love the bubbles and I love the scent – it’s almost good enough to eat. You can get a couple of baths out of this, so it’s great value for money. If you like the Rock Star soap Creamy Candy bubble bar, you’ll love this too!
Magic Wand | Bubble Bar
Wave a magic wand over bath time with this re-usable bubble bar. Fairies of all ages will love this candy sweet magic wand. Swish around your bath or hold under running water for Snow Fairy-scented bubbles, then pop it on the side to dry out for next time. Don't forget to make a wish.
Okay, so this may top a bottle of Snow Fairy shower gel! It’s my very own princess wand, complete with ribbon and bell – I’m never growing up now. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this product, although I’m too scared to use it, because I want it to stay intact. It looks so pretty on display in my room and smells ahhhmazing!
What were your favourite Lush products of Christmas 2014?

Monday, 22 December 2014

City hopping | Bruges

The city was beautiful and we were in a prime location, next to all the chocolate shops and within 10 minutes of the market and other attractions. I love generally mooching about and looking at all the Christmas decorations. I was expecting it to be really busy, but it really wasn’t, even at night – we saw and did so much in two full days.
We visited the chocolate museum, learning about the history of cocoa, the chocolate making process and about famous Belgian brands. At the end of the visit, we even saw a demonstration and got to sample a lovely praline chocolate figurine. Even though it was aimed at children, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a very nice shop as well and I could have bought everything in there!
Who knew there was so much to know about the humble potato, to the extent there’s such a thing as a fries museum?! From variety to history, nutrition to remedies, old memorabilia and more – the frietmusuem had it all! The upstairs of the museum had an interactive area with video and plenty of photo opportunities to be had in the old chip van. In the basement is a small restaurant area – like an old fashioned fast food place. We ordered a portion of fries (which we had with ketchup) and they were amazing; by far the best I had in Bruges.
Of course, the visit had to continue with another thing Belgium is famous for – beer. We went to the beer museum and despite the fact I’d been to breweries both in the UK and abroad, this was still an education. We were given an iPad mini as a guide and at each station was a QR code to scan and you were given the choice to read, watch or listen the relevant information. Admission was either 7€ or 11€ (which included three drink tokens at the bar at the end). Even though I paid the cheaper price, I had one of Jake’s tokens and had a lovely cherry beer.
Oh my gosh, the market was incredible! It was the only reason I wanted to visit Bruges and it totally didn’t disappoint. I had a mulled wine, followed by a chocolate waffle and hot chocolate with amaretto to keep toasty. We had a look at all the stalls and the food ones were amazing – with rows of pâté, cheese, jam and other delicacies on display. I definitely took advantage of the samples! There was even an ice skating rink in the middle of the square and even though I didn’t skate, it added that extra magical touch to the wintry scene. Everything was so beautiful.
There were hundreds of chocolate shops and we must have dived in to at least 15. We visited one of the most famous chocolate shops in Bruges – The Chocolate Kiss, who produce their own chocolate beer and hot chocolate, amongst other delights. So many people were having their photos taken outside the shop, so I just had to, too. Unfortunately the chocolates were by far, the most expensive we came across, but it was lovely to simply browse.
The snow & ice sculpture experience was incredible, if a little chilly (I think it was something like -6C in there!). The theme this year was The Hobbit and the displays were amazing; you could see the amount of time and effort gone into carving each figuring, not to mention ice houses, bridges and even a slide! I queued for the slide and it was great fun – it didn’t even feel cold to the touch. There was an ice bar where we enjoyed shots and sat on an ice bench, covered with furs. It was definitely a must-see attraction and something I thoroughly recommend. I took about 40 photos and with the changing colours, had to capture each one a couple of times – they simply don’t do it justice though.
On the way back to the Centrum (city centre), we went on the giant ferris wheel, which was also fun. The view from the top was beautiful – you could see all of old Bruges and the skies were so clear, offering perfect panoramas. We went round nine times and each time was even more special than the last as there was always something new to spot.
Even though we saw and did so much, I’d still go back – but the appeal is only there in winter.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Restaurant review | Bruges

I’ve recently come back from four days in Bruges – keep an eye out for my City Hopping post. Here are my restaurant picks.
For man-friendly food
Heer Halewijn – Walplein 10
We found this place by chance on the first evening, as the place we intended on eating at had closed. I found that all the restaurants in Bruges are really small but cosy and intimate – serving up to 30 diners. At Heer Halewijn, all the food is cooked in front of you on an open fire. Not only do you see it cooked, but prepared too and the owners – a husband and wife team – are the only staff working, but the service is very good. We sat next to the fire so were kept warm without being uncomfortable, as well as having a great view of various dishes being cooked. Jake and I shared the rib eye for two and but for the steak at Hawksmoor, this was incredible and the best I’d had. The menu is mainly meat (I don’t recall seeing chicken), with fish and grilled garlic prawns also featuring. Each main course is served with a giant baked potato – there’s a never-ending supply of those – and side salad. We also shared a carafe of house wine, which was reasonably priced (around £7). The decor was traditional and the atmosphere relaxed, it almost felt as though I was dining at a friend’s.  I think we paid just over 50€, which is good considering the quality and quantity of steak! Booking is recommended although this hidden gem is away from the tourist trap.
For tradition fare
Gruuthuse Hof – Mariastraat 36
We found this restaurant online and after reading the Trip Advisor reviews, we ended up at Gruuthuse Hof. If you’re looking for typically Belgian cuisine, this is your answer; although beware, you have to book – so many people without a reservation were being turned away! The restaurant seats 28 and again, there are two members of waiting staff. When we arrived, we were given the table nearest the draughty door – but were soon offered a much better table in the window, with a beautiful view of the Christmas lights and cobbled streets. Jake chose a hearty Flemish stew, while I opted for mussels in white wine. The pot was huge and it’s fair to say I struggled. Both options were served with fries, although I could have done with some crusty bread instead. I managed a dessert though – a wine glass of passion fruit sorbet, which was lovely and refreshing. The service started well but ended up quite slow; I can only imagine that it was because of a large party of 10.
For afternoon tea (or brunch!)
Tearoom Carpe Diem – Wijngaardstraat 8
A place we hadn’t researched, but I really wanted a crepe or dainty pastry – I’m glad we came across Carpe Diem as it proved popular with locals, as well as tourists... always a good sign! There was plenty of seating in the tearoom, with little cubby holes and a conservatory to sit out the way. Should you wish to take away products, there’s a patisserie counter too, with some heavenly looking cakes, show-stopping tarts and macarons. After finding out a mocha doesn’t contain chocolate and is similar to an espresso, I opted for a cappuccino and the Norman crepe (thinly sliced apple flambéed with calvados). Both were well presented and the coffee came with a slice of Madeira-esque cake and a chocolate! It was quite pricy – you’re looking £20 for two crepes and two drinks – but it was worth it, especially for a treat.
For something less traditional
Bistro Maurice – Walstraat 11
Bistro Maurice serves up a mixture of cuisines and with its small menu, you can expect quality. From the inside, it’s your typical bistro: minimal, monochrome, light and airy. We booked our final dinner at Bistro Maurice but it will be remembered for the wrong reasons. It was far too hot and from the moment I sat down, I felt uncomfortable and wanted to leave – to the point I was having coughing fits because of the heat. The food was incredible though and I was really pleased with what I chose – even if it was a salad. It was presented beautifully, with an array of inviting colours. There were so many tastes and textures – from the creamy old Bruges cheese to the salty Serrano ham, peppery rocket leaves and sweet balsamic dressing. Every mouthful was delicious. It’s amazing how something so simple was turned into a real delight. I loved the croutons and toasted seeds too. The service was good – but were only in the restaurant 50 minutes!  

Monday, 15 December 2014

November’s book | Gone Girl

After seeing the film the weekend it came out, I could not wait to read the novel by Gillian Flynn which inspired it. I’d heard people say that the book differed, particularly with regards to the ending. I have to say reading was equally as thrilling as watching and I could not put the book down.
*Warning; may contain spoilers*
The novel begins on the day of Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary and while the day begins in fairly normal fashion – with Amy making pancakes for brunch – although Nick’s narrative makes it perfectly clear he’s uneasy about the day ahead. And that’s where things turn bad. There’s no anniversary gifts or dinner as Amy disappears from their rented McMansion. There’s a pool of blood in the kitchen which looks as though someone’s attempted to wipe it up and there’s total disarray in the living area with the tables, photo frames and more knocked over. Everything signals a murder – but Amy’s body is nowhere to be found.
There a number of clues which the police find along the way and both they, and Amy’s parents believe Nick is the guilty party. It’s fair to say the evidence points that way too. Passages from Amy’s diary make her sound as though she was never happy, that Nick was disrespectful and although Amy acted like an alpha-girl perfectionist, that would never be good enough for him. Anniversary treasure hunt clues lead to places of significance in Amy and Nick’s relationship; unfortunately for him, they portrayed him in a negative light.
A string of revelations, lies and deceit had me on the edge of my seat – even though I already knew the outcome – and there were so many questions that needed to be answered. Why Andie? Why did Desi have to return to the picture? And was Amy really pregnant with Nick’s baby?
Amy Elliott-Dunne
The All-American girl, there are so many different Amys we are introduced to – from Amazing Amy, her fictional character to ‘cool’ Amy and even avenging Amy. The inspiration for the books series she wrote, Amazing Amy is just that: beautiful, charming, pretty much perfect and it’s little wonder in reality, she feels so inadequate – she’s forever playing up to her fictional self. She pretends to be the ‘cool girl’ – the kind of girl that every man would love. One that’s intelligent and also sexy, one that will sit and watch the football and drink beer. This isn’t Amy at all but facade she has to put on in the hope Nick will be impressed. But above all, she’s avenging Amy – scheming, sly, manipulative, controlling and intense. She may look sweet and innocent as though she’s a doting wife, but the terrifying thing is, she’s capable of anything... including murder!
The novel is full of twists and turns and as you’re from both Amy and Nick’s points of views, you’re constantly kept on your toes. It’s a toxic tale of a disintegrating marriage. This book is perfect for a holiday read, or even a weekend escape – I promise it won’t disappoint either.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Lush | Wizard Hat

I know this post is SO late now and I should be blogging about the Christmas range (which I have, unopened in a large Lush paper bag), but I’ve only just got round to using these products. I try and have a Lush bath once a week, but I actually used all of these in a week just so I could blog.
I was really gutted to hear the limited edition Sparkler was being discontinued after the fireworks season and I was never able to buy it from either the Liverpool Street or Stratford branches of the store. Luckily the lovely people at Lush Liverpool Street saved me a Wizard Hat gift box so that I could try the bath bomb out... thank you Matti!
As well as the Sparkler, this box contained the Wizard bubble bar and Star Light, Star Bright bath melt – so all three products were ones I’d not used before *excited*. Firstly, how cute is this gift set? I always love how Lush wrap their products and this one was no different. The bold purple with star print is so eye catching and I just adored the tassel with pompom. You can even re-use the box and be a wizard for the day – perfect for younger siblings or cousins (I gave mine to mum to take to work!). So let’s move onto the products.
A Rose Jam-scented crackler for the bath
I was a huge fan of the Northern Lights bath bomb and was really pleased to hear its shelf-life was extended. Another cylindrical bomb, Spakler has a gorgeous scent: sticky, sweet yet floral with a hint of lemon. It’s kinda Turkish Delight-y. I have to say, I had high expectations and felt this product didn’t really deliver – it’s nowhere near as spectacular as its sister ballistic. The glitter and popping candy were a good touch but it wasn’t as colourful as I was expecting. Was this product worth the wait? Probably not.
Cast a spell over weariness
I’m a huge fan of the bubble bars and it’s great that they are re-usable – they’re so cost effective. As always this little cutie produced loads of bubbles and also turned the water a deep, mysterious purple. As you know, I’m really into the sweet and sickly smelling products and this was more medicinal (if that’s the right word?) – with hints of fennel and liquorice. Not really for me.
Star Light, Star Bright
For special baths filled with light and lustre
I’d never bought a bath melt from Lush before and watching this dissolve from a silver glittery star to its dark blue centre was mesmerising. The scent (lime and ginger, with hints of lavender) was really strong and lingered on my skin for hours afterwards. The centre is shea butter with coconut oil and is quite a rich formula, leaving you thoroughly moisturised and your skin nourished. I loved this product, although the 90s definitely called asking for their glitter back!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Degustabox | Winter Box

After reading Jamie (Glitter Infatuation)’s posts on the Degustabox, I couldn’t help but sign myself up for them. I’d definitely consider myself a bit of a foodie; I love to cook (note to self, more recipe posts!) and I love all things food and drink – especially buying and trying new products – so Degustabox is well up my street! I got my first box for £6.49, but they’re usually £12.99.
My first box was the Winter Box and it arrived in the last week of November. If you join before the 20th of the month, you receive your box by the end of that month; else you receive it the following month. Payment is always on the 10th, regardless – and the price includes delivery.
So what did I receive in my box?
  • A bag of Kettle Chips (£2.19)
  • Two cans of Cool Dawn (£2.98)
  • Five Lindt Lindor My Melting Moments (£3.25)
  • Kent’s Kitchen flavour shots (£1.85)
  • Branston Mediterranean tomato chutney (£1.50)
  • Two bottles of Pip Organic cloudy apple juice (£3.00)
  • A bottle of Montano apple cider (£2.79)
  • Two pouches of Holy Cow! Curry sauce (£3.38)
  • Plus! A sample sachet of Drink Me Chai, chai latte
Thank you to the handy card which explained everything, as well as the recommended retail prices for each of the products. I loved the recipe ideas on the other side too and will give those a go.
Pip Organic cloudy apple juice
I love to have a glass of juice every day and cloudy apple is one of my favourites. This reminded me so much of Innocent apple juice – but a lot nicer. Each 150ml serving is one of your five a day, too.
Cool Dawn recovery drink
I don’t really drink energy drinks, nor do I get hangovers so this probably isn’t the product for me. I drank a can the morning after I came home from my educational to stop my general tiredness and sea legs and I did feel more refreshed. It has an acquired taste and if you don’t like liquorice, you won’t like this.
Montano apple cider
I’m not usually a fan of apple ciders as I find the taste quite bitter, but this was lovely – not as dry and sharp as other brands, but with the right level of sweetness. You get quite a lot in a bottle as well and I ended up sharing this with mum. I’d definitely buy it again.
Holy Cow! Curry sauces
I’m not really a fan of curry, I think it’s because of the amount of fats and oils in many of the sauces in restaurants and from takeaways. I tried these products with an open and mind and was pleasantly surprised. I got the Goan prawn and Kashmir rogan josh varieties and enjoyed both, although I preferred the latter as it wasn’t as spicy.
Kent's Kitchen flavour shots
This product is such a clever idea as it’s a great way of adding a burst of flavour to a boring chicken (or any other meat!) dish, is easy to use and has so many uses. I’m looking forward to trying these out and love that it’s something everyone in our house can use. I got the garlic and coriander seasoning.
Branston Mediterranean tomato chutney
Another product I was willing to share and one I can see being very popular at a Boxing Day buffet or with those post-Christmas snacky dinners. Everyone in our house loves chutney and I can thoroughly recommend this as a relish with lamb burgers, or as a dip for sweet potato fries. I love it.
Kettle Chips
I’m not gonna lie, I was so excited when I saw these in my box – I LOVE Kettle Chips! They’re my favourite brand and I love their extra crunchy texture, even though on the bad side, they’re so moreish and the whole bag soon disappears. My favourite flavour is the sour cream & chilli but I received a new flavour in salsa & mesquite (one of the original seasonings when the brand first launched in 1988).
Lindt Lindor My Melting Moments
And the award for my favourite item goes to... Who doesn’t love Lindt chocolate? I got five of these beauties and gave three away to the rest of my family, leaving me to gorge on the remaining stars. These are perfect for stocking fillers and I loved the creamy chocolatey middle which just melted in the mouth. Compared to the Lindor balls, I found these a bit more sickly though.
Sample present
Drink Me Chai, chai latte
Now this wasn’t a new product for me as I’ve previously bought the full size original and vanilla spice varieties of this drink. I love both and drink mine with water, rather than milk. I much preferred the sachet to spooning the mixture into a mug as I had just the right amount and it was easy to stir. There’s no need for sugar as it is well sweetened and all the spicy aromas remind me of Christmas!
Did you buy the Winter Degustabox? I’d love to read your thoughts on the products.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Giveaway | Winter Essentials Gift Box

So I’ve been planning this giveaway for absolutely ages and I was going to coincide it with my blogiversary which was last month, but as my educational and other plans came first, it’s now more of an early Christmas treat. I celebrated my second blogiversary towards the end of November and am so grateful for all the readers, followers and comments I receive – so I thought it only fair I give something back. I always wanted the box to have a wintry theme and now I’ve posted this giveaway later than expected, I’ve packed it with some of my favourite seasonal treats and essentials.
First of all, I have to say, the giveaway is only open to UK residents – not because of the postage, but because of the contents. Hopefully if this is successful, I’ll be able to host an international giveaway at a later date.
Now on to the box, one lucky winner will receive:
Joe & Seph’s mince pie popcorn I’m yet to try this flavour, but Joe & Seph’s corn is to die for! I have actually ordered myself a pouch of this...
Montagne Jeunesse Passion Peel Off face mask Because we all need to treat our skin during the colder months... this is one of my favourite masks.
Lipsmackers chap stick in chocolate mini milk – One of the super cute Walls ice cream collection, this tastes and smells like the retro treat.
Lush Candy Mountain bubble bar – The highlight of any winter. Candy Mountain and any Snow Fairy scented products are a must-have in my bathroom! Please note, the winning bar is packaged – the unwrapped one is mine for photographic purposes.
Yankee Candle votive in Candy Cane Lane – not a scent I’ve tried myself, but I love Christmas smelling Yankees and they linger in the room for hours afterwards!
Nescafe Millionaire Shortbread Mocha & Gingerbread Latte sachets – I love Christmassy drinks and you’ll love these limited edition seasonal specials from Nescafe too!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
All that’s left to do is enter the Rafflecopter above and the lucky winner will be revealed next Monday, so that I can post the box out asap. Good luck everyone, thanks for all the love and here’s to the next couple of years!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

November favourites

This month, I’ve been
WEARING  snug boots
There’s nothing worse than having cold tootsies in winter and when I’m out, I live in my woolly snuggle socks. When I go out, I have to wear boots and although I’m yet to dig out my Uggs this year, I love my studded boots (Boohoo) and my tan biker-style boots (New Look). Both are really cosy, although someone called the studded pair ‘tacky’ last week – are they sure?!
TESTING  Maddi Alexander rose beauty balm
Another product from the Latest in Beauty Maddi Alexander Rose Limited Edition box – I’ve finally got round to use this beautiful balm and I love it. I get such dry skin in winter, particularly on my elbows, knees and ankles. After a bath or shower, I moisturise as usual and then apply the balm to those points to keep them hydrated and free from dry skin. I love the formula and find it isn’t greasy... so easy to apply too. Plus it smells great!
SMELLING  Snow Fairy
Eek, I know I mentioned this last month but I can’t help but add it to my favourites again. I’m getting through bottles of the Snow Fairy shower gel and have pretty much emptied Lush Liverpool Street of Candy Mountains! There’s no nicer smell!
EATING  Christmas sandwiches
As soon as Christmas sandwiches hit the shops, I have to buy them. Along with the speciality lattes, they’re my favourite things about the season. At the moment, Waitrose are the winners with their turkey & bacon, with cranberry, port & orange chutney. Boots are second with their gammon and Marks & Spencers are third with their festive ham. I had lunch at Costa and had the praline cappuccino with a turkey, stuffing & cranberry toastie – lush!
LOVING  Batiste dry shampoo
This was difficult to narrow down as I’ve been excessively using two products this month. Pipped to the post was Batiste dry shampoo which was an absolute life saver when I was on my work educational. We ended up staying an extra night and I’d already packed, so as you can imagine, the dry shampoo came in handy. My favourite scent is the cherry as you can’t actually tell you’ve sprayed it to your roots. I also love my Desire Me by Escada perfume and it’s the perfect evening fragrance – a mix of sweet, musk and spice; sophisticated and mysterious. The bottle is so elegant too; I love the black and gold.
LUSTING  BaByliss Pro Perfect Curl
Now Christmas is coming, I’ve been lusting after this so bad. I need the BaByliss Pro Perfect Curl in my life... please Santa, I’ve been so good this year *angel emoji*. I got to test it out at my hairdressers and instantly fell in love. It’s so easy to use – I can’t curl my hair with GHDs and have never been able to get along with a wand. I bought rollers but they’re more for adding volume and a little bounce. I want big curls! I’m so bored of straight hair, I’ve even resorted to plaiting my hair before bed (old skool!).
What have you been loving in November?