23/02/2016

BROOKS AND BROOKS HAIR SALON, HOLBORN

Hands up if you're lazy when it comes to getting regular haircuts? I'm guilty. 

Next question...

Hands up if you try to cling onto dead hair for as long as possible in fear of losing length? Ooops, i'm guilty again.

Despite being white blonde, I hadn't had my hair cut for a good few months so it was time to end the relationship with my split ends and finally split up. Pardon the pun. 


I was offered the opportunity to review a cute little hair salon called Brooks and Brooks in Holborn on Sicily Square; (a 5 minute walk from Holborn station FYI). The salon is really big with industry photos in frames dotted around on the walls, a friendly receptionist and I even spotted their salon awards sitting proudly on a shelf in the waiting area. 

It was clean, airy and not too loud or over packed. I don't mind salons being busy but it can be off putting if your space with your stylist is too close to another person's because you can lose that personal experience with the stylist. 


My appointment was booked with a stylist called Kayleigh who has worked at Brooks & Brooks for the past 5 years. Upon arrival, she took my coat and showed me to my chair where I would be getting my hair cut. We then had a little consultation about what kind of style I was looking for but as a blonde (and a hair novice), I was unsure what to go for. I saved some photos from Pinterest of shoulder length styles with choppy layers and fringes and Kayleigh said a fringe wasn't a good idea due to the fact my hair was breaking at the front of my head. Blonde hair problems! 


We finally agreed on some styles that took about 2 inches off my length and Kayleigh agreed to make sure to keep my ever so sacred middle parting. I would feel so weird without it! I decided I quite liked the idea of a longer fringe or "bangs" that I could easily sweep in the middle and put behind my ears if need be, so that's what we went for. 

A girl called Mary then introduced herself and washed my hair for me. I was given the optional choice for a head massage and as I was feeling a little stressed out with life, I chose yes! The head massage was lovely and really relaxed me. It's also really important to have head massages when you're religiously bleaching your hair every few months which, yep... I am guilty of again! It relaxes your scalp after a harsh bleaching session. 

After my hair wash, I sat back down with Kayleigh who then combed through my hair and began her magic. We chatted for ages about jobs, weddings and then found out we shared the same birthday and both live in Essex which was double weird! 


After my hair cut was complete, I was so happy with the final result. It's rare that you can find a new hair dresser and completely trust that they don't mistake 2 inches off for 5 or 6 which is the main reason I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with going to hair salons!

I am really pleased with the overall experience I received from Brooks and Brooks and will most definitely return in the near future for all my hair care needs. 


I even got to meet the salon owner's pooch, Molly. She was the cutest little dog ever and loved posing for a photograph!


Thank you so much to Kayleigh, Mary and the rest of the team at Brooks and Brooks for having me. It was also a pleasure to meet the salon pup! 

Disclaimer: The service I received was free of charge in return an honest blog review. As always, all opinions and photographs are my own. I was not paid to speak highly of the company. I genuinely really recommend them and would pay for the service out of my own money. 

SHARE:

19/02/2016

RIVER ISLAND VALENTINE'S STYLE STUDIO EVENT

Last week, I headed into Central London to attend River Island's Style Studio event (#StyleWithLove); held at their prestigious and ever so glamorous Marble Arch store. 

Being an employee of a River Island store, I was very intrigued by the complimentary personal styling service that River Island now has to offer. I went along with a girl from work called Shannon as my +1. 

The exclusive service is now in place at both London and Birmingham stores with booking slots lasting from 30 minutes, 1 hour or 2 hours; all depending on how long you need a personal stylist for. Whether it's a quick session to determine your body shape or a full on session to hunt for the best dresses for your birthday; the Style Studio is there to cater for everyone and anyone!


Upon arrival, the personal styling lounge is located on the top floor of the Marble Arch store. With sliding doors, I entered the styling lounge to see lots of bloggers mingling and taking photographs. The lounge was decorated with jazzy patterned sofas, modern floor length mirrors and gold pineapples were dotted around in every corner.

Being a Valentine's Day themed event, there were heart shaped cookies, heart shaped tissues, balloons and roses everywhere... so cute!


The reception area was very welcoming with roses, wine and strawberries and cranberry juice on offer.


I quickly saw there were outfits on hangers around the room, so I went to check some out. A lot of the items that I saw we haven't yet received at my store so it was nice to see some different bits. I particularly loved a pair of leopard print cat-eye sunglasses which I shall be definitely be buying!


I met the lovely India from the Press Office who told me I was going to be paired up with another blogger for games to win prizes. Exciting stuff, right? We were presented with a rail of different outfits on hangers which had a wide range of different styles. The press team had carefully selected outfits that they thought each of us bloggers would wear. The first game was a Valentine's Day quiz and the pair with the most correct answers won their chosen outfit!

Time to get serious, obviously...

My outfit they chose for me had me written all over it! It featured a gorgeous black denim dress in a dungaree style, a striped plunge body suit and a very luxurious suede biker jacket. Unfortunately, we didn't win our outfits due to mine and Shannon's lack of knowledge about Valentine's Day! DOH!


The next game was a memory game. The team had selected 20 small River Island items on a tray and we was given 10 seconds to look at the tray to memorise it. Me and Shannon only managed to remember 17 items so we didn't win that game either, damn haha!


The whole press team then found out I worked for a River Island store (pretend there's a shy monkey emoji here) and so they wanted to photograph me for the store magazine. I look like a right numpty, don't I?!


It wouldn't be a true blogger event without a cheesy group photo. We also left with a very generous goodie bag packed full of River Island bits; including a rose with my name on it... the only Valentine's rose I received this year!

Thank you so much to River Island for inviting me. It was great to go to a press event for a company I actually work for. I had such fun!


#StyleWithLove
SHARE:

11/02/2016

ELSIE UPDATE: 1 MONTH WITH A NEW PUPPY

It's crazy to think that I've had Elsie for a whole MONTH already. Where has time gone?! Elsie's personality has completely changed in a month too so it's time to give you all a little update on my little pup-sicle'!


Elsie is 14 weeks old today and it's only the last week or so that I have really noticed a difference in her size! She has definitely grown substantially in length and now stands taller than when we first got her. Obviously puppies grow, but I didn't realise they would grow SO quick!


She is much better health wise than before. After a strict diet and some medication, her worms and colitis healed and her poop went back to normal. We have changed her food diet now from a turkey and rice biscuit based diet to Pedigree puppy pellets which she seems to enjoy a lot more. She has a HUGE appetite for a puppy so we have to be careful she doesn't over eat because it can be quite easy for a labrador to become overweight.

She has had her first vaccination which was exciting because it means we are a step closer to our very first walk! If you're getting a puppy, I would look around at puppy packs because for a set amount of money, I got her vaccinations booked in, a microchip, flea and worming treatments AND 4 weeks included pet insurance.  Her second (and final!) jab will be on the 19th so we can start going for walks by the end of the month. SO EXCITING! (I just hope it warms up in London a bit!) 


This will also mean that as of the 19th, her pet insurance is finished and I'll need to take out a new plan. Pet Insurance is such an important part of the journey when getting a new dog or cat. Whether your new furry friend is 3 months old or 7 years old, pet insurance protects you with claims for your pet. Did you know that 1 in 3 people need to make a claim on their pet insurance? From skin conditions, breaking of limbs, upset stomachs and even the loss of your pet; pet insurance will have you covered depending on the level of plan you take out. 

Argos Pet Insurance seems to be the best plan for me and Elsie. They offer three different level packages so depending on your pet type and how much you can afford; there are different plans to look at taking out. Personally, Elsie is my world so I will be taking out the platinum cover plan which will last her whole life. It's a relief to know that if I need the emergency vet bills paid then paying for pet insurance will have me covered for any issues that occur during Elsie's life. 



We have now discovered Elsie LOVEs dental bones. As normal bones are out of the question due to them being too tough for her puppy teeth, we have tried her out on some softer dental bones. Elsie has been testing us with self-defence when it comes to these chews so we have been taking them off her during mid-chew so she knows we aren't taking it away from her completely.


Elsie has a bit of a funny relationship with our cat, Albert. She is now a lot larger than him so is always jumping over him and trying to get him to play. Even though Albert is a good as gold and doesn't react negatively to this puppy behaviour, he simply doesn't want to play. There's a bit of a dilemma when it comes to feeding time with both pets because they eat each other's food! Again, there was a bit of growling and protection from Elsie over her food bowl when Albert wanders near it but this is the main thing we are working on at the moment to control.


Elsie still loves to bite. Infact, that's her chewing my favourite PJ shorts. She is starting to bite people quite harshly now so this is another thing we are trying to work on stopping. We have tried the pulling away and shouting OUCH, tried giving her a toy straight away and tried putting her in 'time out' to calm down. However, she seems to have selective hearing and doesn't listen to the word 'no' or 'stop'; yet listens straight away at 'treat'. Puppy minds, eh?


She doesn't sit still for long enough to get a decent selfie, so this is all we managed to achieve today!


 I am really looking forward to the next stage in her puppy training, taking her for walks and meeting puppy friends. Elsie's last post got such a great response in the comments so I hope you found this post super cute too!


In collaboration with Argos Pet Insurance as they contacted me to discuss the importance of Pet Insurance.
SHARE:

10/02/2016

ULTIMATE DATE NIGHT IDEAS

{Guest Post.}
February is the month known mainly for two occasions; Pancake Day and Valentine’s Day, and since Shrove Tuesday is now out of the way we’re now on the final countdown to Saint Valentine’s.
Yep, it’s fast approaching the day where we celebrate all things love and whether you love it or loathe it, it does feel good to spread a little love and goodwill around.  
Don’t forget that Valentine’s isn’t just about spending time with your partner; so grab your crush, gal pals or family and treat them to one of these date night ideas. Plus, you don’t need to bin these dates once the big day is over as these dates will see you through February 14th and beyond.  


* Go Back to Your Youth *

Remember when love was all so easy? You got married pretty much every day in the playground, played kiss chase and the cinema was about as wild as dates got? Why not take it back to that time. No you don’t need to find your nearest playground, grab your mates and have a fake marriage, but why not take inspiration from your younger days and plan a date to match.
Visit an arcade, go to the cinema, play a game of bowling, snack on pick and mix or visit your favourite childhood haunt. You could also play some old board games, but remember it’s just a game if things get competitive! 

Making a Feast

The way to someone’s heart? Through their stomach, kind of. Whipping up a culinary delight for your favourite person is guaranteed to make them swoon. The best thing about this date is that it can be tailored to suit your kitchen skills if you’re no Gordon Ramsey.
You could go for the classic romantic meal for two with a three course meal, complete with candles and music or you could make an indoor picnic to keep things casual. Set up a blanket in front of the TV, grab a boxset or Netflix, and indulge in your favourite picnic foods, think mini burgers, crisps and some homemade dips – yummy! 

* The Date to Remember *

There’s times when you need to go all out and put on a date that hands down beats all other dates…ever. And what better time to put on a WOW date than Valentine’s Day? This is the big budget date and the one which you’ll both remember for years to come. 
London is a pretty magical city, so why not book a romantic restaurant, then enjoy some cocktails and a little magic with Oliver B at the W Hotel in Leicester Square, just remember to book a fancy hotel to avoid a long journey home! 

* Surprise! *

We all love surprises and surprising your loved one will win you some serious extra brownie points. Surprises don’t need to be extravagant and more often than not it’s the little things that make a surprise so special. 
Why not take it in turns to plan a surprise date for one another as often or as little as you wish. You could cook each other’s favourite indulgent meal every other week for cheat day, watch a film of their choice or pick them up a new book or pampering treat. 

* The Cheap Date *

The best things in life are often free and dates don’t need to cost the world. Luckily, in the UK there are a whole host of activities you can do that won’t break the bank or sometimes cost you a thing. 
We live in a country with an amazing countryside so pop on your wellies, get outside and breathe in that invigorating fresh air. There are lots of heritage and National Trust sites you can visit, or alternatively look out for deals at your local restaurant or cinema to have a date on the cheap. 

Hopefully these ideas have given you some inspiration ready for Valentine’s weekend and beyond to help you keep the spark alive. 
{Guest Post.}
SHARE:

08/02/2016

PEANUT HOTTIE - PEANUT BUTTER FLAVOURED HOT DRINK

I have found my new favourite hot drink which I am sure any fellow peanut butter lovers will love too! As always, I only mention things on my blog that I truly recommend!

Let me introduce to you... Peanut Hottie. 


Peanut Hottie is a hot beverage powder mixture which surprisingly is peanut butter flavoured. Just add boiling water to 2-3 teaspoons of the powder, mix well and you have a steaming mug of peanut butter goodness.


Real peanuts are used to make the mixture and there are less than 100 calories per cup. So, it may seem like a naughty hot drink before bed but it's actually not that bad! I have tried out the peanut butter mixture aswell as the peanut butter WITH chocolate mixture and both are SO yummy.



As a hot chocolate lover (and a coffee and tea hater may I add - sorry to any coffee/tea connoisseurs out there); the chocolate peanut butter mixture was my favourite out of the two. What tastes at first like a normal hot chocolate drink then turns into a creamy peanut butter taste. It's simply just heavenly!

Sadly, I have now run out of both mixtures but luckily, Peanut Hottie have a few UK supermarket stockists so I need to hunt some more down ASAP! Give me my Peanut Hottie fix!

Disclaimer: Product was sent to me for review but all opinions & photographs are my own.
SHARE:

04/02/2016

TRAVEL: 5 THINGS TO DO IN MALLORCA

It's no secret that travelling is one of my favourite things to do. From the packing of your suitcase, queuing at the airport (ok maybe not that one!), to boarding the plane, arriving and checking out your hotel and then lounging around by the pool with a cocktail in hand; I love it all.

One of the places I have been to a few times and has never failed at being an amazing place to visit is Mallorca in Spain. I know with no intentions, you have already judged this island to be full of British lads with quiffs on their heads wearing t-shirts labelled with 'sex, drugs and sausage rolls', girls with ratty hair extensions and lipstick all down their face and just about everyone getting it on. Mallorca is often mistaken for Majorca, but both places couldn't be more opposite.


If you're like me and try to book holidays that are well away from those party types and loud crowds, then Mallorca is the perfect place to go for a week or two. Book Mallorca makes it super easy to book your holiday and plan out where you want to visit. As the island is especially known for its wide stretched and virgin beaches with crystal clear water, you often feel like you're holidaying in the Caribbean but truth be known; you're actually only 2 hours away from London!

As holiday season is upon us, I thought it would be the perfect time to start thinking about my travels this year. I would love to go back to Mallorca at some point as it offers a bit of everything that I like on a holiday; beaches, sun, good food, sights to explore and outdoor activities.

I have put together my top 5 things to do in Mallorca so if you're heading over there this Summer, this is the perfect guide for you!

1) Palma Cathedral

Despite not being religious, cathedrals and churches are always somewhere I like to wander into when I'm on my travels. There's something about religious buildings that really calms me and makes me feel very safe. Palma Cathedral is a beautiful and unique landmark that offers stunning interiors and is just somewhere you must visit if you are ever in Palma.

Source: Histovius

2) Platja des Coll Baix Beach

I always prefer driving to the next beach along rather than choosing the main beach near my hotel resort. I prefer to have space so I can feel relaxed and comfortable with walking about in a bikini and enjoying the sun and sea. If you research it, more often that enough there is always a stretch of beach which is private and never that busy. 

Platja des Coll Baix is a stunning stretch of beach below cliffs of green; offering shimmering waters and a woods nearby. Top tip... it's best to catch it at its most beautiful as the sun is just going down!


3) Snorkelling at Cala Deia

If you're looking for the best beach to catch the sea creatures at then Cala Deia is the one. North of Mallorca, Cala Deia is a small beach with caves and above water rocks to sunbath on. Again, the water is crystal clear so is a popular beach for swimming and snorkelling. It takes around 40 minutes to swim the length of the beach so it's small but totally worth the visit if you have an underwater camera and want to capture the fish of Mallorca!

Source: Dive1

4) Luna 36 Restaurant

It wouldn't be a travel guide without a recommendation on somewhere to eat. Whether it's with your partner, your parents or your entire family; Luna 36 is a fantastic restaurant located 200 metres from the main town square in Mallorca. It's based in an old converted chocolate factory and offers beautiful Mediterranean dishes using local and fresh meat and vegetables. 

There's always something quite lovely about family run businesses. Everything from the fantastic service from the family who own it to the food and even the interior and terraced patio exterior outside... it's definitely a place to visit for an evening meal.

Source: See Mallorca

5) Dog Walking in Calvia

Probably one of the most rewarding things you could do whilst on holiday is helping out the local dog's home by walking their dogs. Not only do you get great company (dogs are EVERYTHING!) - but you get to enjoy the landscapes of Mallorca and the perfect partner or two to enjoy them with. You could enjoy a strip of beach together or take a morning stroll through the woods. 

(Hopefully), you may even decide you're fallen in love and want to take one home. I know I wouldn't be able to resist! 


Source: Photograph > Alamy via The Guardian

I hope this was a handy travel guide for you if you're either booked to holiday in Mallorca or if you're still deciding on where to go this Summer. It really is a wonderful island and never fails to disappoint me.

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with BookingMallorca.co.uk but all opinions and words are my own.
SHARE:

02/02/2016

"MEXICAN BOATS" WITH OLD EL PASO

(I deeply apologise if you read this whilst hungry, maybe waiting for your own dinner to cook or even in the long awaiting transition between lunch and dinner time.)

I've featured a couple of Mexican food posts on my blog over the years so it's to no surprise that there was going to be another around here one day. This time, it's with one of my favourite food brands that I have worked with a few times... Old El Paso.


Old El Paso are a food brand well known for their mouth watering ingredients that can see you cooking up a spicy (or not so spicy - which ever you prefer!) storm in the kitchen. I have been using their box kits and spice flavour packets for years and they never fail to please my taste buds... and every one else's in my household.


The great thing about cooking is that there's never any rules. You can add what ever you like to something and make it work for you.

Now, in relation to rules in food; tacos aren't just crunchy. Did you know there are now flour based tacos that Old El Paso came out with a little while ago? I have named this recipe 'Mexican Boats' because that's what they remind me of. Little flour boats filled with yummy goodness.

Time to cook the chicken, add the sauce, cut the peppers and mix it all together.


They also have a few of their own sauces which are great to accompany your boats, nachos or tortilla wraps. I tend to make nachos pretty much every week (me and my sister are obsessed - the more toppings the better) so this jar of salsa comes in handy to keep in the fridge for each time we make them. However, this time round, I added a dollop of salsa on top of each boat.


Avocado-anything are my favourite things ever so obviously I am a huge guacamole fan. It was just pot luck finding it in a squeeze tube. Again, brilliant idea as I can keep it in the fridge for use after use... although you do have to use them within a couple of weeks to keep their freshness.

We found the sour cream quite hard to squeeze out of the tube as it's not runny and it more like a mayonnaise consistency. However, it is really nice as expected.


Making boats is super easy. Just heat up the tacos in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, add the cooked chicken mixture, add your toppings and then lots of cheese on top for an extra bit of Mexican naughtiness! We even found we had some tortilla chips at home to accompany the boats.

Perfect if you ask me.


What's your favourite Mexican dish? Are you a tortilla wrap person or do you prefer crunchy tacos?

Ashleigh x

Disclaimer: Old El Paso kindly sent me these products in consideration for review. All words, opinions and photographs are my own. 

SHARE:
Blogger Template Created by pipdig