Sunday, 29 June 2014

Review: Ilumi Meals

Firstly I will apologise for my lack of posts this past week or so, my laptop has been laden with spyware which resulted in me not being able to get internet access. I  then had a problem with flash player so I couldn't edit any photos.. nightmare technology!

I was recently contacted to try out some food from Ilumi, and being someone that likes my food, I obviously didn't say no!

I had heard about Ilumi before after being subscribed to their newsletter, but didn't know what they were all about. Ilumi specializes in creating allergen-free foods, so all the contents are nut, gluten and milk-free, which is so handy for those that have an intolerance. Their mission is to still make them as tasty and colourful as possible, without those added ingredients. They do a variety of foods from curries to chicken, lamb and beef dishes, soups, rice and so much more! They all look yummy!

I was sent 4 packs to try, but unfortunately I had just started on a set eating diet plan at the time so instead I (reluctantly)  let my boyfriend be the food tester, which he was more than happy to do!

Being a man of little words and definitely not one to compliment something if it doesn't deserve it, I asked him to give me a few words on each dish. I also asked him to score each dish out of 10 (10 being the best). Can I just add, these photos do not do the food any justice.. trying to photograph hot food whilst the steam clouds over your camera lens results in pretty poor photos!


Basil & Garlic Meatballs in a Tomato Sauce
"Very tomato-y, rich and creamy" Verdict - 8/10

Peppery Tuscan Style Beef Stew
"Very spicy, (correct blend rather than too much/too little). Nice and creamy" Verdict - 7.5/10

Mediterranean Style Rice with Pork & Chorizo
"Rice was a little moist. Good quality pork" Verdict - 6/10

Piri Piri Portuguese Style Rice
"Nice flavours. Similar to other rice - too moist" Verdict - 6/10

Conclusion - "The quality of the meat throughout is high and amount was plentiful. There were many flavours in each dish"

I suggested that maybe because of the flavours this was why the rice was moist (I personally would prefer it this was but each to their own!)

I did have the tiniest dip of the spoon in most dishes and I can honestly say the flavours were at the forefront of each dish and really woke my taste buds up.

After having a quick browse through Ilumi's customer reviews, they have pages upon pages of 5* feedback which highlights the quality and tastiness of these dishes!

I personally don't have a food intolerance but I can imagine how helpful these foods would be to others that do. They take all the hassle away of worrying if the food contains nuts, gluten etc and allows the person to sit back and just enjoy their food.

To see what other yummy foods they have to offer, click here


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Home Interior: My Perfume Collection & Storage

My perfume collection stands nicely in the corner of my dressing room on my drawers (which I also have the matching dressing table to..). These drawers house mainly everyday beauty essentials from make-up that I'm currently using to deodorants and hair items. The contents of the drawers are forever changing though because when I run out, I'll replace them with another from my stash which is housed elsewhere!

I don't often go in charity shops, but once when I did a couple of years ago, I spied this gorgeous mirrored cake stand and instantly thought that it'd be perfect for my perfumes. Its a little bit more of an unusual way to store them, but because of the 2 tiers, it kinda saves space than if I was to put them all on a flat surface. I love glass on glass to, there's just something about it that I think makes it look pretty.
I'm not the best at describing scents, and I don't really know what I'd class myself liking - I really like sweet smelling perfumes, but for a special occasion/evening out, I tend to go for more musky smelling fragrances. I wouldn't say I have an expensive taste in perfumes, as you can see I own a fair few celebrity perfumes, which as you all know are really inexpensive now. One that I do like to splurge on every now and again is LancĂ´me Hypnose (in fact each time I've been lucky and Mike has bought me a bottle for my birthday/Christmas, so I don't think I've ever had to splash out on the £50 price tag.. yet!).

Britney Spears 'Curious' is one of my all time favourite 'celeb' scents. I've purchased this on and off for nearing 10 years now! You can get a huge bottle for so cheap as well if you shop around, which is always good! I also love Britney Spears 'Fantasy' but I ran out of that a long time ago!

As you can see, more Britney Spears! I love the 'Radiance' bottle, although I'm not too keen on this scent anymore!
How do you store your perfumes?
Have you entered my giveaway to win a bottle of bioderma? There's 2 up for grabs with only a few hours to go!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Afternoon Tea at The Beeches, Lincolnshire

After arriving back from Paris last month, I had a few extra days booked off work which I like to do once I've been away, just to get up to speed with washing, upload all my photos as well as catch up on any sleep.

I had found a voucher in our local newspaper for half price afternoon tea at a local hotel/restaurant (was originally £16, now down to £8 - who could refuse afternoon tea this price?!). Unfortunately I'm not going to name the venue due to giving away my home town (and its a small town!) so hopefully this post wont be too pointless for you!

Even though I once lived literally round the corner from this place, I had never ventured inside because I'd heard the prices were pretty steep.

We were seated in a cute small dining area and we were the only ones there (which is how I like it!). Another couple came towards the end of our afternoon tea but it was still really quiet.

Both the teacups and cake stand were pretty, very vintage and floral - just how I like it! Once again I couldn't finish all of the cakes, although it never looks a lot when it arrives, afternoon tea is always deceiving no matter where you go!

There was a good selection of sandwich fillings, from the traditional salmon, to cheese & pickle and egg mayo (my fave!)
I wasn't expecting a great deal from this due to the price, but was very impressed with what was included. Although some of the cakes I believe not to be hand-made and probably shop-bought, I didn't mind too much because of the price.


Although I've had better Afternoon Tea's, I'd definitely come back here, especially with another half price voucher!

Have you entered my giveaway? There's only a few days left and 2 bottles of bioderma up for grabs!



Friday, 13 June 2014

June's Birchbox: The World Cup

If Im honest,  this month's birchbox didnt wow me, even though there was a good variety of products.  Maybe I'm just getting harder to please, who knows.

This months theme was the world cup, so they have selected top beauty players from across the globe. Along with a fetching yellow and green bag to mimic brazil and a a flip flop keyring to match, which I'll probably just keep for in the house on our spare set of keys cos it does look a bit erm... tacky.

From L-R

Embryolisse moisturiser (France). I've said it before and I'll say it again... I'm not massive on skincare so this didn't excite me like it would others.

Yves Rocher sheer lipstick (France). This past year I've really got into lipstick, so much so that lipglosses have become a thing of the past now. I have always associated lipglosses with the 'younger' generation,  something I feel I no longer belong in, so alls good! The colour of this lipstick looks scary but it applys almost sheer, given just a very subtle colour to the lip which is perfect for me at work to give my lips some moisture because I do suffer with sore lips if I have no balm on them.

Silk & Honey hair mask (Canada). I dont often use hair masks so I'm rather excited about this.

OPI nail polish from their brazil collection . I can't say no to a good nail polish.  This is quite a unique concoction of colours and reminds me a little of when you see a petrol mark on tarmac, you know how you can see all tne pretty colours.. this has a very similar effect but with just purple and gold. Although this is nice its a fairly wintery shade to have in a spring/summer box.

Naobay body radiance lotion. Oh.dear.god. ANOTHER body lotion? Really... I seriously need to show you my stash then you'll understand my sigh of annoyance.

Was you happy with this months box?

Have you entered my giveaway to win some Bioderma? There's 2 bottles up for grabs and only a few days left before it closes! Get clicking and enter now!


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Review: Tropical Breeze Bouquet

Which girl doesnt love fresh flowers around the house to brighten their day up? Unless your allergic of course, in that case, unlucky.

I was recently sent a gorgeous bouquet of flowers* from bunches summer range.  Having never dealt with their company before, I can honestly say what fantastic customer service they have as well as fast FREE delivery. Not forgetting to mention the free chocolates you recieve with all online purchases.

Firstly,  can I just say, the name 'Tropical Breeze' is bloody marvellous for a bunch of flowers. Every time I hear those words my imagination instantly takes me to a deserted paradise island, sun beaming down and the warm ocean breeze whipping my hair. Ah, take me there!

The flowers consisted of orange germini, orange lilies,  yellow carnations and a lot of foliage.  Orange flowers arent something I'd normally go for, Im more of a pink/pastel kinda girl when it comes to flowers, but these soon grew on me looking pretty in my hallway.

A lot of the flowers still had closed buds on when I received them (see above) which meant they'd last longer, and they did. 2 weeks later and I've only just thrown them out today! Just don't tell Mike I've stained his t.shirt in the process from the lilies. Whoops!


I'd definitely recommend bunches for any celebrations.  Their earliest delivery date is always really good for those that leave presents till the last minute! They have a large selection to choose from, including house plants, gift sets and balloons too. Go on... make someones day!

Here they are beginning to open up!

I'm always sad to see fresh flowers wilt but it only means more pretty flowers will take their place :-)


Saturday, 7 June 2014

Fun in Florida! Universal Studios

Woah, I'm a little late catching up with this series, luckily this is the last post. So instead of leaving a job undone, I thought I'd tie any lose ends and finish my blog posts (even though my Florida holiday was almost a year ago to date, but that's too sad to think about right now!).

This theme park is obviously based on a lot of film and TV. Parts of it were still the same from when I was last there 13 yrs ago (I'm looking at you ET!), but there was a lot that I didn't recognize, and a few that I was actually quite sad to notice have disappeared (i.e. the Jaws ride - such a classic film and iconic ride, it was the type of ride that as soon as you mentioned 'Universal Studios' a few years ago, your mind would cast back to this). That being said, its still such a fantastic theme park.

Universal is split into 2 parks. Islands of Adventure is the 'sister' (if you like!), which is next door. In between both parks lies CityWalk, which is home to a good handful of restaurants and shops. Although busy all day round because people are passing through this to enter and leave the parks, it tends to come alive at night.

Universal do an amazing night-time water/firework display. They tell a story of TV/film through the ages whilst images are being portrayed in a waterfall... yes, that's right, images/icons (i.e ET (see below), Jaws etc) are made out of water.. how cool is that?! While this is happening, there's colourful shots of water bursting out of the lake into the night sky. Once all this is finished, a firework display is shown over the lake. Its too pretty!

Universal is home to The Simpsons, so if you're a fan of this, walking through this section will have you in awe as you'll come across some very well known iconic buildings from the programme (they are identical!). We had a Krusty Burger for our tea... Sounds appetizing eh? The ride is good too, although definitely not testing enough for me!

The Mummy, Men in Black and Disaster are all rides that you'd find here. They haven't got many adrenalin rides except Rip, Ride, Rock it, which I was too much of a wimp to go on!

Transformers had just opened for the very first time when we visited (literally the day before), so as you can imagine, queues for this were over 2hrs long, which unfortunately we just weren't prepared to wait in. Although I've since heard its like Spiderman from Islands, and this was one of my favourite rides, so I'll definitely be making a beeline for Transformers on our next visit!

We managed to slot in a couple of shows during our day, including BeetleJuice, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Sometimes I'm a little apprehensive about watching shows as I feel like I'm wasting precious time being on the rides, but its nice to give your feet a rest for half an hour whilst being entertained at the same time. The quality of the shows are always fantastic as well, so you always walk away feeling blown away by the effort.

I've heard that there's a new Harry Potter section being built, which I was surprised at, after knowing Islands has a brilliant HP section next door. Although its a bonus for all you HP fans!

Have you ever been to Universal Studios? What did you think of it?

I hope you enjoyed my Florida series!

If you're a new reader to my blog and would like to read more on my time in Florida, check out my other blog posts below.

Animal Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
Hollywood Studios
Downtown Disney
St Petesburg & Sarasota
Islands of Adventure


Friday, 6 June 2014

My 'Sheflie'

When I spied a competition being held by tots100 in conjunction with Victoria Plumb to win £500 worth of vouchers I jumped at the chance! The competition is being held to celebrate the Great British Home. The rules are to showcase your favourite shelf in your home, simples! As you know I love to show you snippets of my home interior, my favourite shelf being no exception!

This shelf you will find in my dressing room. Its actually more a shelf for show than serving a purpose. My dressing room has a shabby chic style and is full with lots of pastels.
When we first moved into our home, I remember really wanting to get my dressing room set up. It was our first home together and I'd never had a dressing room before, so couldn't contain my excitement! The 'Dream' sign I rushed putting up, I didn't know what I was doing, but just grabbed a hammer and a few nails and went for it. Predictably I did a bit of a 'bodge' job, it's definitely not as straight as I'd have liked! Luckily not many people come in this room to see my DIY skills though!
The 2 lanterns either side were really inexpensive and I thought it added some sort of symmetry to the shelf, as well as doubling up as book stands too!
As you can see I'm a fan of chick lits, Sophie Kinsella being one of my favourite authors. But only pastel coloured books are allowed!
The small card in front of my books is a thank you card given me to whilst I was in Vegas by my brother and sister-in-law, thanking me for being their bridesmaid. It has a cute fairy style design on the front so I thought the whimsical-ness of it matched the theme of my room. Whimsical-ness - is that even a word? Oh well...
The box underneath the mugs is actually an old beauty box that I am subscribed to. I loved the design and colours of it and thought it was too pretty to hide away so added a little definition to my shelf. It's actually faded a lot from the sun now so I may have to do a little moving around soon!
The mugs on top are bargains that I picked up from a supermarket. Again, the pastel colours attracted me. They don't get used, they're just for show. I'm in the process of replacing these with some vintage tea cups instead as I think they might be a little more appropriate!
The bubble baths in the front row I thought were perfect for this shelf - pastel coloured with a cute vintage cupcake style design on the packaging. I picked these up in the Christmas sale really cheap! They smell divine too! Behind them are 3 body moisturisers that I picked up all the way from Las Vegas from their famous Bath & Body Works shop. I have 2 the same because they smell SO good and I was frightened of running out of one and never being able to replace it, so I bought 2 identical ones! I'm still really strict on when I use them, special occasions only! Not only do they smell good but they remind me of my time in Vegas. I love getting flashbacks of holidays through scents - is that strange?!
Next to that is some body mist. This too is from Bath & Body Works and is the same scent as the moisturisers but in a different form! The consistency of this is strange, its like a lava lamp inside! Its full of shimmer and looks pretty to look at so it made the cut!
Victoria Plumb currently have an interior design interactive quiz on their website which determines who you take after for your home interior style in the celebrity world! I took the quiz (which was actually good fun!) and I turned out to be Mrs Boho Chic who resembles the likes of Monica and Chandler from Friends! Go and take the quiz and let me know who you resemble! You can be entered to win a competition too on completion! Its handy for those that aren't too sure on their home style as well!
Go and take a snap of your 'shelfie' to be in with a chance of winning, but hurry, the competition closes tonight at midnight!
Good luck!


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

May beauty empties

I feel like I got to the bottom of quite a lot of products throughout May. Luckily with my trip to Paris I managed to get through some travel sized products which is great for me because of my never ending growing stash of miniatures.

These are the products that I managed to finish in Paris. I deliberately brought miniature sized products because I was determined not to come back home with them!
The shampoo and conditioner samples always come in handy for weekend breaks. I never tend to use them otherwise. I love Patene as a hair brand so these were perfect for me.
The shower gel I received from a beauty box and if I'm being honest it wasn't really a scent that I usually go for. It was very herbal-y and spicy smelling, but I knew I would never use this at home so again, forced myself to use it!

 The 'Lait Corps' body lotion was rather nice, it left my skin feeling silky smooth and smelt a little of marzipan, so I liked this!
The Bioderma eye make-up remover! Firstly, how cute is this bottle. I've kept it to refill with other eye make up removers for when I go away because I think its the perfect size. I love oil-based eye make-up removers so I loved using this. It wasn't as oily as some other products that Ive used in the past, but it removes your mascara so effectively with such little effort. There are tonnes of reviews online about this stuff because every beauty blogger and their dog has raved about this at some point. I am actually giving away 2 full size bottles of this stuff, all the way from Paris (which is where it originates from). If you want to be in with a chance of winning,
Lastly, when it comes to eye treatments, I'm a little lazy. Eye products don't really interest me, however when I received these in a beauty box, I was intrigued. I think they're meant to be used in a morning for tired eyes, hence 'wake me up' - however once awake, I'm not one to lounge around pampering myself, I'd rather be up and out and keep the pampering for an evening. So I used these in an evening after a busy day in Disney. They really weren't what I was expecting - the only way I can describe what they feel like is a thin rubbery, almost silicon slippery wet texture. They were strange to touch but felt soothing once they hit the skin.

Obviously some of these larger products were carried on from April too, thankfully.. I think id panic if I used this amount every month!

Lets start with the hair products. For those that don't know, im really not a hair person.  I've tried and tried but it just doesn't interest me. That might explain the condition of it! Although the hair dye has got a lot to answer for as well...

Superdrug dry shampoo in chocolate brownie. I swear by this stuff and hope they never stop making it... not only is it a dry shampoo for me but it masks my roots too and helps me to prolong dying my hair for another 2-3 weeks, its great! Ive done a separate review on this which you can read here******

Tescos 'my senses' shampoo and conditioner in blueberry and orchid. I think these are maybe meant to be tescos replica of herbal essence, im not sure. Either way, I have been using these on and off for over a year. They smell gorgeous, the consistency is nice and thick which makes you feel like you are giving your hair a treatment. They do the trick, what more can I say? These are approx £1.69 each, and for a big bottle like that I think you cant go wrong. I hate spending loads of money on hair products because to me, spending £1.69 and £10, im sure no ones going to notice a difference!

Alberto balsam shampoo - I got a massive box full of toilettries for christmas and this was in it. Honestly? Im not a big fan and nevr have been. I hate the consistency of this. Its one that just slips off your hand before it even reaches your head. I dont feel like it does a great deal for your hair either, and my hair always feel under nourished when ive used this.

Philip Kingsley 'one more day' dry shampoo. I received this from a beauty box the other month and brought it to Paris with me. I actually really enjoyed using it. The product that it leaves on your hair to be massaged in is a lot more 'present' than other dry shampoos, and it seems to do the trick a lot more effectively than others. Although I dont think I can justify the price tag for the full size of this, but it does get a thumbs up from me.

Beauty protecter hair oil. I enjoyed using this little glass bottle whilst in Paris.. the smell is divine and I just love hair oil to tame split ends and nourish, as opposed to hair creams.

Clairol colour sealant. This came with a hair dye but I thought id include it because I love it. I remember when they first began putting these in the hair dye boxes (yes, I really have been dying my hair that long!) And I fell in love, but gutted that I could only get my handz on one if I bought a box of hair dye. A year or so later and they began selling them individually in Superdrug. I will say its never given me the same wow factor as it did the first time I used it, but then I put that down to the condition of my hair. I still love its creamy consistency though and how super soft my hair is left feeling afterwards.

Johnsons baby wipes - I like to have baby wipes handy for when im applying my make up to wipe my grubby hands on afterwards. Im not bothered what baby wipes they are, and just tend to grab whatever is on offef, cos they are only to wipe my hands on afterall!

Skin active face wipes - face wipes are the first step of scraping my make up off at night. I hate how expensive they are becoming so in an attempt to save money I decided to try a cheaper pack to see how my skin coped. I picked these up crom B&M for 99p for 2 packs I believe. The size is a little smaller than what im used to and the 'wetness' of them was lacking a little, I also found them quite hard to manoeuvre round my face, as bizarre as that may sound!

Urban Veda exfoliating facial polish - I bloody loved this stuff, so much so that I want the full size version. The texture is perfect, my skin is left feeling squeaky clean and soft, and it smells so good!

Ghost perfume (the original). Ive had a few bottles of this over the years. I remember a uni friend getting me into it in my first yr back when I was 18, so im still using this 11yrs later! Its a little different to the majority that I own. This is more musky and deep. Its pretty inexpensive to buy too which is always good if I fancy a treat.

The pampery cream bath. This was part of a set that I received at christmas. Firstly I love the packaging,  right up my street! Although this smelt sweet and sugary in the bottle, I have to say the scent didnt linger either in the bath or on the skin. It created a fair few bubbles though, which is always good!

'Little red dress' perfume, by Avon - Yet another christmas gift. This was a light scent that I used for work. Because I knew there was no great price tag on this, I tended to use it more as a body spray. It was a nice scent but didnt wow me at all.

Sure deodorant - what can I say about this? Im not one to stick to the same deodorant,  I tend to grab whatever is on offer. This does what it says on the tin!

Collection lasting finish concealer - im sure youve heard every man and his dog speak about this. Ive been buying it for a few years now. Its perfect.

Rimmel lasting finish 25hr wear foundation - ive been using this foundation for approx 2+yrs now, and love it. Ive done a separate review on it here ******* but if you like full coverage you'll love this.

Aromatherapy Associates bath and shower oil - I received this from a beauty box and wasnt too keen on the smell. Its a little different to what im used to - if using it in the shower, you had to apply this before you got in. The oily consistency made this really easy, but the smell staying power was something I wont forget.  Not only did it linger on the skin overnight (which rarely happens with me!), but I could still smell it in the bathroom 24hrs later. Impressive!

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