29 June 2014

Home Made Avocado Face Mask

home made face mask, natural face mask, avocado face mask, beauty blog
home made face mask, natural face mask, avocado face mask, beauty blog
home made face mask, natural face mask, avocado face mask, beauty blog
home made face mask, natural face mask, avocado face mask, beauty blog

Avocados are not only a brilliant food packed with over 25 vital nutrients, vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, minerals and proteins - but they're also an incredible ingredient to use in a home made face mask. Avocado oil is commonly used in hair conditioners, moisturisers and shop bought face masks as they nourish and moisturise skin, and these products are especially great for dry skin. Avocado helps skin preserve its youth and boosts skin immunity against pollution and every day stress by accelerating new cell generation - and can even double up as a natural sunscreen, as well as being a helpful sunburn healer. I wanted to share with you this nourishing home made avocado face mask which is super easy to make and if cooled in the fridge for half an hour, it makes the perfect summer mask! 

You will need:
1 avocado
Quarter of a lime 
Two/three tbs of natural yogurt
Two/three tsp of honey

I have chosen to team my avocado with a little bit of lime, which freshens and brightens the skin; honey which hydrates and heals skin; and natural yogurt which prevents ageing, reduces discolouration and helps to fight spots. Together, these ingredients make a great face mask for dry and problem skin, without being too harsh on it. 

First, you'll need to mash up your avocado to a lumpy paste. Then add in the yogurt, and mash the ingredients together. Next, squeeze a quarter of the lime into the mix, and carry on mixing until the blend becomes smooth. Finally, you'll want to mix in the honey and carry on blending until the paste is smooth. Et voila! Your home made avocado face mask is ready! You can keep the mask on as long as you like, I usually go for about 20 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water. 
Because this is an all natural, home made avocado face mask you will need to use this pretty quickly as you don't want the avocado to go brown. However, if you make a batch that is too big to use up all at once simply divide the mixture into small sections, place is freezer friendly containers and then just defrost for you next session! 


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22 June 2014

The Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival 2014

The Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, food blog, Cleo Swim by Panache, Panache swimwear, fashion blog
The Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, food blog, sushi
The Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, food blog, paella
The Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, food blog
The Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, food blog, Cleo Swim by Panache, fashion blog
The Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, food blog
The Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, food blog
The Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, food blog
The Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, food blog
The Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, food blog
The Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, food blog
Cleo Swim by Panache, Panache Swimwear, fashion blogger
Cleo Swim by Panache, Panache Swimwear, fashion blogger
The Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, food blog, ice cream
The Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, food blog

Yesterday we went on a family day out to the Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, hosted at The Square in Bournemouth. I've had it on my calendar for a while, and I love going to different food festivals around the country, but a mix of world food, sun, entertainment and the beach just sounds perfect to me. The food festival runs from the 20th June until the 27th June, 10am until 10pm - plenty of time to make a day out of it.

What can you expect from this festival? Great atmosphere. On the first Saturday, they had the most uplifting and joyful African band, which along with the sunshine and the delicious African lamb and beef skewers transported you far away from the usually gloomy British Isles. Some of my other favourite stalls included the sushi stall where you can pick 'n mix your pieces which is just a brilliant idea, the wood oven pizza stall, the all you can ever want spinach paella and seafood stall where you can see and eat the most attractive sea bass, and the Italian ice cream stall.
In the middle of the square, you can sit down with a glass ow wine, beer or a soft drink and enjoy your food along with the entertainment which includes singers, dancers and DJ's.

There is also a food market which sells delicious food and drink products like olives, ciders, chilli sauces and the most tastiest meringues! I picked up a smoked chipotle chilli sauce, a couple of the local all natural ciders and a huge strawberry meringue!

The square is merely a stone throw away from Bournemouth Pier, so we picked up some food and sat on the beach for a while. I wore my new Cleo Swim by Panache swimsuit and it was the perfect choice for the day as I could wear it as a top with my maxi skirt, and I felt stylish on the beach too! The Panache swimwear range is perfect for girls who have curves, I cannot flaw the support and the shape of the swimsuit and it's such a pretty pattern too!

The Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival is a great day out for anyone who enjoys good food and I'd highly recommend visiting it while you can. What festivals are you guys looking forward to this year? Have you already been and would like to recommend it for this year?


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18 June 2014

What To Expect From Beauty Boxes.

glossybox, beauty box, beauty blog, glossybox review

I have decided to write an opinion post on beauty boxes because recently a lot of my friends have been asking me about them and I realised that a lot of people in the UK haven't yet discovered this service. Some people are very intrigued when finding out about beauty boxes, others think it's a waste of money. I will be sharing with you my opinion on the boxes, based from the box I receive and also the boxes you guys share on Twitter and Instagram. Remember, most of this post consists of MY OWN opinion.

Most beauty boxes are a monthly subscription costing around £12 and comprising of 5-6 items in the categories of makeup, skincare, haircare, nails and beauty accessories. A lot of boxes also do themed or one off boxes when a special event like Valentines Day, Christmas and so on come along which adds a little more fun and excitement. I started my subscription with a well known beauty box brand, Glossybox, back in 2012 and have had it ever since. I have been very intrigued to try other boxes, but just haven't had the opportunity yet. There's some elements of the beauty box which I absolutely love, like the element of surprise and never knowing what you're going to get in a box - unless your box is late and you start skimming through your Instagram roll where you are guaranteed to see some sort of spoilers, but we can live with that. I love that Glossybox has introduced me to a lot of new brands, although most of these brands I won't actually be using a lot because they're not easily accessible, more "high end" or "boutique", rather than high street. One thing that most beauty boxes seem to promote is natural and eco/animal friendly products which is a massive plus as I think many of us agree that if we were more educated about cruelty free cosmetics and they were as easy to buy as some of the high street brands who perhaps practice a less nature friendly ethic, we would be spending money helping the environment and stopping animal cruelty. Thankfully, more and more companies are fighting for no animal testing in the beauty industry, but it's still nice to find products who proudly display and make a point of being eco friendly and cruelty free, which happens quite a lot with products in beauty boxes.

One of the negatives, or turn offs that many people agreed on is that sometimes these boxes are simply not worth the money we are paying. I completely get that. Sometimes when a box arrives and you've got brands like Rituals, Monu, Vichy, Nip+Fab and Illamasqua showing up, it all makes the £12 worth it. But when a box arrives with a poxy foundation tester, like the ones you get FREE from a beauty counter, or even better - a perfume tester - and a lipstick from Rimmel and three other high street items which add up to like £7, you're like "Er, what?". Most boxes have got their act together now and don't add too many testers, but rather travel sized options along with some full sized products and the disappointment is less, however for many the damage has been done.

I find beauty boxes really great for topping up my drawers too and actually I haven't bought things like blushers, hair products, eye liner and even moisturiser really in a long time because I always find them in my beauty boxes. It's fantastic because I don't have to worry about running out! However, talking about eye liners reminded me of another point which I'm not sure beauty box admins even listen or read through: your personalised profile. When I tick "natural" in the makeup section, I don't mean blue lipstick and purple eyeliner. Because, you know, I don't naturally have blue lips? I believe people visit the doctor if they do so...yeah, it would be nice to just be listened to a little bit and feel like the box follows your standard and likes, rather than a generic solution. I know sometimes it can't be helped, but when you're working with a beauty brand you could really separate the more out there lipsticks with the more subtle tones and follow customer profiles... A little pet peeve as you might have guessed!

To conclude this post, I'd like to say that I have no intention of quitting the beauty box club yet and for me, it's just a great way to receive monthly products, get a little kick out of the surprise and get a mid month treat. In the pictures above you can see what I received in this months Glossybox and although it may not look like a lot, the contents of this box actually add up to over £50 so I think it's worth the £13 cost of the box (including P&P).
I'd love to hear more of your opinions on beauty boxes so comment away - and thank you to everyone who tweeted me with their opinions!


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16 June 2014

Summer Dress From Zara.

zara summer dress, zara sliders, fashion blog
zara summer dress, zara sliders, fashion blog
zara summer dress, zara sliders, fashion blog
zara summer dress, zara sliders, fashion blog
dress Zara // sliders Zara // chain necklace Topshop

I realise that I haven't done an outfit post in quite a while so I'm finally very excited to share with you my latest favourite OOTD from my favourite store - Zara! I am slightly obsessed with 99% of the products that come out of Zara and this dress falls under that percentage. 

Friday marked one year since the night that me and Liam met (eeeep!) and I was surprised to come back home to a beautiful delivery of flowers and a mystery box from my favourite store. I know that my boyfriend has great taste when it comes to clothes so I was mega excited to open the box! I found this beautiful Grecian inspired summer dress along with a pair of THE Zara stroppy sandals! Safe to say I wanted to wear the outfit immediately, unfortunately I didn't get to celebrate our 1 year of being together with Liam as he is in Canada right now but I cannot wait for him to get back in AUGUST (can everyone just feel really sorry for me because I don't get to see him for like 3 months?!) 

I've been wearing this outfit non stop because it's so beautiful and summery, and I love how well it balances out the boyishness of the sandals. I don't feel like this outfit needs a lot of jewellery, that's why I've got a statement chain necklace and perhaps I will add a couple of plain gold skinny rings next time I style it. 



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11 June 2014

Restaurant Review: Essebourne Manor, Hurstbourne Tarrant, Hampshire

Essebourne Manor hotel Hampshire, Essebourne Manor, Hampshire Restaurants
Essebourne Manor hotel Hampshire, Essebourne Manor, Hampshire Restaurants
Essebourne Manor hotel Hampshire, Essebourne Manor, Hampshire Restaurants
Essebourne Manor hotel Hampshire, Essebourne Manor, Hampshire Restaurants
Essebourne Manor hotel Hampshire, Essebourne Manor, Hampshire Restaurants
Essebourne Manor hotel Hampshire, Essebourne Manor, Hampshire Restaurants
Essebourne Manor hotel Hampshire, Essebourne Manor, Hampshire Restaurants

So by now I guess you guys would have guessed that me and Liam love food and testing out different restaurants to find the most amazing meals, well this time we have come to the Essebourne Manor in Hampshire to have their delicious 7 course tasting menu. There are so many Hampshire restaurants and many of them are so yummy that I feel very lucky to have such delicious eateries minutes away from my house!

Originally we were planning to simply find a place to eat on a lazy Monday night, and I think it was a Bank Holiday too so we wanted to do something nice before returning to the pleasant life of work - so Liam chose Essebourne Manor. I didn't know much about the place, mostly that people get married there and it's very nice - but I've none of my friends nor family had eaten there before, so I couldn't get a reccomendation.

The grounds themselves are beautiful - Essebourne Manor is closely located to Highclere Castle which is where Downton Abbey is filmed, so you can imagine the picturesque scenery. Inside, the restaurant is cosy and welcoming. We sat down for a glass of prosecco in the waiting area and whilst browsing through the menu we were greeted by a selection of starter tasters which included whitebait and lemon mayonnaise, soft cheese and shortbread and a beef variety (I was so into my food that I kind of forgot what the waiter said I was eating... oops!)
We noticed there was a tasting menu, and seeing as neither Liam nor I had ever tried a tasting menu before we chose it - proved to be the most popular choice of the night as 5 of the 6 tables around us had chosen the same! The 7 course menu comprised of:
  • Pork brawn, Dorset snail, parsley and shallot
  • Ox cheek, kipper, mussels and sea herbs
  • Smoked sea trout, Asian salad and miso soup
  • Broccoli, duck, blue cheese
  • Ras el Hanout lamb, goats curd and pistachio 
  • Honey, milk curd, flowers and mustard
  • Rhubard, sorrel and gingerbread
  • Coffee / tea with petit fours
All of these beautiful dishes you can see in the photos above, and they were beautiful. The first dish was one of my favourites - as long as you don't mind snails (which I know a few people do, but they're delicious!) There wasn't anything I didn't like - the combination of flavours worked so well, even the milk curd and mustard! There was also the blue cheese foam on the broccoli which was different, but tasted delicious. And the sorrel - I think we could both agree that it was one of the yummiest things we've ever eaten for dessert! 

There was a lot of appreciation for the food around the room, and I would expect the chef received a number of compliments. The presentation, taste and uniqueness of dishes was faultless, and I would highly recommend Essebourne Manor for an evening meal out, perfect treat for celebrations! You can see from the photos that I started snapping in daylight, and by the end it darkness had fallen - it's a meal to enjoy with nice company and a lengthy conversation.




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4 June 2014

Best Hot Sauce

Review of hot sauce, best hot sauce, spicy sauce review, food blog
Review of hot sauce, best hot sauce, spicy sauce review, food blog
Review of hot sauce, best hot sauce, spicy sauce review, food blog
Review of hot sauce, best hot sauce, spicy sauce review, food blog

For anyone who follows my Twitter and Instagram accounts, it will come as no surprise that I LOVE spicy food. I come from a culture which appreciates strong tastes and can push for spice - as well as travelling when I was younger which taught me to eat almost anything. So naturally, I need a little kick in my food!
In the past year I have seemed to develop a real hunger for spicy foods and when I say spicy I'm talking lashes of Tabasco just doesn't even cut it anymore. I've grown very fond of curry's in the winter months to warm and fill me up, so I've started to push my taste buds further and here is the result: I'm having chilli matches with myself.

Here I have a small collection of some of the chilli sauces I'm using at the moment - a good mix of several different parts of the world to literally spice up your life! And whether you like a small hint of spice, or full on panic attack worth YouTubing - there is something here for everyone:

Franks Red Hot Sauce - is a favourite amongst many! Franks consists of aged cayenne red pepper, garlic and vinegar and has a tangy, almost sweet and salty flavour which is great for marinading or simply coating chicken in, pork and in burgers. Perfect for foodies who enjoy a kick as well as flavour.
Hot Ranking : 5/10

Cholula - this sauce is something I only discovered today when browsing the sauce isles of a supermarket. Cholula is made of Arbol and Piquin peppers, vinegar and various spices and is a perfect compromise between spice and flavour. Not as hot as the rest of the sauces, Cholula has flavour which will be delicious served with grilled fish and a salad for a shot of Mediterranean in your diet!
Hot Ranking : 4/10

Tabasco Habanero - Tabasco is a known name amongst sauces and is one of the most popular hot sauces around the world. Tabasco has spawned since its original days and now holds several sauces from mild to extra hot, which is what the Habanero bottle claims. Made with Habanero peppers, aged red peppers, mango, banana and papaya purees as well as garlic and onion, Tabasco Habanero is spicy with a taste that lingers slightly after eating and will make the perfect accompaniment to a BBQ marinade - just add as many drops as your mouth wishes. I also sometimes add Tabasco to mayonnaise to make a spicy dip for prawns or chicken dippers!
Hot Ranking : 8/10

Sriracha - Sriracha has crawled up the taste buds as well as social media channels of many Americans and since made its way to the UK. Originally from Thailand, this sauce is made from chilli, garlic and sugar and I have had it with almost everything I've eaten in the past month. It's so universal and goes well with most things but is amazing as a marinade for BBQ chicken wings. Simply put a bunch of wings in a plastic bag, squeeze enough sauce into the bag to coat the wings and shake well. Leave it for an hour or so and then BBQ! It's delicious.
Hot Ranking : 5/10

Mr Naga Chilli Pickle : a less conventional chilli sauce, this pickle is perfect for curry's. It's very hot and is very flavoursome - I add a spoonful of this sauce to a curry and let it cook out for a while. It definitely adds some...je ne sais quoi. Prepare to have a bowl of yogurt topped with coriander near you when eating curries with this chilli sauce! It is made with Naga Morrich peppers, vinegar, paprika and mixed spices - any curry sauce will bloom with this pickle.
I found it in my local Asian food store and the owner promised that this sauce is THE spiciest thing ever, and I agreed. Until... I met Dalla.
Hot Ranking : 9/10

Dalla Pickle - Ok, ok, so the dalla pickle is supposed to be the hottest chilli pickle. Worse than any ghost chilli, or scotch bonnet or whatever else you have heard of. Not many people know of the calla pickle and even less sell it - so when Liam presented me with this beauty of a bottle I was very intrigued. By this point I'm nearly used to the naga pickle so how bad can this be, right? BAD. I added a tablespoon of this pickle in a curry I made and I barely made it through half of the bowl, and ended up in bed for a good couple of hours with a burning sensation in my throat that not even ice cream could fix. It is enough to simply dip your finger into a calla pickle jar, taste the teeny tiniest bit to feel like your heads about to blow off. Many have tried, many have also tried to keep a brave face but I think the chilli has defeated those many.
Hot Ranking - 10/10

Am I missing any sauces out? What's your favourite hot sauce? Leave me a comment with the name of the sauce and I'll be sure to try!


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2 June 2014

Tattoo Choker Trend


tattoo choker, 90s tattoo choker, vintage accessories, 90s trend
tattoo choker, 90s tattoo choker, vintage accessories, 90s trend
tattoo choker, 90s tattoo choker, vintage accessories, 90s trend
tattoo choker, 90s tattoo choker, vintage accessories, 90s trend
90s tattoo choker* ASOS // sunglasses Rayban (but officially stolen from boyfriend) // vintage denim vest

For years I have been saying and thinking that the 90s trends wouldn't come back as they're not vintage enough - but slowly and surely they have been creeping back on the fashion scene for a couple of years now, and the tattoo choker necklace has made one hell of a come back this summer. 

I remember wearing these tattoo chokers when I was a little kid - they were trendy and practical as it was very hard to get this necklace caught on something whist in action. They came in all sorts of colours, with beads and dangly chains. The approach to this accessory in 2014 has been simplistic and boho - you can find this choker accompanying the tough lace trend, sporty luxe and toughening up a girly floral skater dress. I love layering necklaces with this tattoo choker - gold is my favourite. 

You can find one of these on most websites these days - mine is from ASOS - and they start from pennies going on to double figures depending where the choker is from and what hangs off it. I would advise going for the simple plain choker and if you do want some sort of ornaments hanging from it, it's so easy to clip them on yourself! I'd love to see how you guys style the 90s throwback tattoo choker so leave links to your posts in the comment box and I'll be sure to check them out!



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1 June 2014

Astral Moisturiser Review

Astral cream review, beauty blog
Astral cream review, beauty blog
Astral cream review, beauty blog
Astral Moisturiser* 50ml £1.29

I was recently contacted to test out Astral Cream, a moisturising cream which is suitable for use on skin all over your body – literally from face to toe, as well as being a multi purpose product for taking off makeup, acting as a primer and even aftersun. Astral Cream is, as I found out, a well known moisturiser amongst the older generation but a lesser popular product amongst the “twenteens” (the age bracket of teenagers and individuals in their twenties) but I’m not so sure that this product should stay an unintentional secret.

Astral Cream is used by celebrities such as Amanda Holden, Jesy from Little Mix, Kate Beckingsale and Sam Faiers of TOWIE, so if names which consistently pop up in the media use this bargain cream, it’s surely good enough for all of us to use? Let’s find out:

The first thing you might pick up about Astral is the scent: it is very reminiscent of something your mum or grandmother used to wear. Not that it’s not nice; in fact it’s almost comforting!
As with any moisturiser, apply this cream onto clean skin – I love using this after a hot shower or bath. I personally really like the consistency of Astral Cream: it’s thick and creamy when you scoop a tiny bit in your hand but once the cream is rubbed in it disperses into a lighter, oilier substance. Depending on where you’re planning on using Astral Cream, you only need a small portion as this moisturiser is so easy to spread so a small tub will last you a long time. I usually use Astral Cream on my face and always before I go to bed, I find that it’s too heavy to wear underneath makeup but moisturises perfectly whilst I sleep. I also occasionally use Astral Cream on dry patches on my body, like arms and legs. This cream is very gentle so it doesn’t irritate the skin or aggravate a rash, for example a heat rash or shaving rash.

I wouldn’t recommend Astral Cream for anyone with oily skin – this is quite a greasy moisturiser so it’s ideal for dry skin, however suitable for anyone to use on their body. I now turn to Astral to be the finale of my heavy duty Sunday night pamper session and am assured to wake up with refreshed, nourished and cared for skin.

For such a bargain multiuse and effective product to be under our noses and not many people use it or even know about it is a real shame. I’d buy a small tub of this and just use it sporadically whenever I really need a good skin boost, and because it's so small it's mega handy to carry around with you!


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