Blog by Ashleigh Dougherty

31/10/2016

THE LONDON BRIDGE 'PHOBOPHOBIA' EXPERIENCE


A few weeks ago, I was invited along to review the press opening of the London Bridge Phobophobia Experience. If you know me in person, you will know I absolutely love anything to do with Halloween, horrors and pretty much anything that suppresses my fears. 

The London Bridge Experience is a popular attraction to visit whilst in London. To go alongside Halloween, they have introduced the Ventriloquist experience; which does unfortunately finish today being Halloween! However, the usual London Bridge Experience is available every day by booking through AttractionTix


Upon arrival, we queued for a while and waited to be ticked off the guest list. It's located underneath London Bridge so it was a bit of mission to find but once we found it; we realised there was actually a tube exit right opposite!

Once we entered, there was people from Reptile Events with a royal python and corn snakes. I'm not someone who has much experience with any kind of reptile, but I decided to hold one. I absolutely loved the corn snakes. It's so weird how your brain imagines snakes to be slimy and not very nice to touch; but they are actually the opposite. 

All the snakes are rescued by Reptile Events as people tend to buy snakes for a 5 minute wonder and then give them away or abandon them. I am always about supporting animal charities and rescue centres so please do check them out and support them in any way you can. 


After having fun with the snakes, we were given the opportunity to mingle and eat brain sweets (they were so good haha). It was so cool to meet other people and find out where everyone was from before the actual experience started. 

On our name badges was a number and this was the group number you were in for the experience. Fortunately, I was group 7 which was the very last group! 


I don't want to give too much away to ruin The London Bridge experience. However, everyone (including myself), came out sweating and almost in tears with adenanline and fear. At one point, I was the group leader so I got the brunt of all the scary bits. 

My biggest tips are to get your eyes adjusted to the dark before moving on, as you are in pitch black most of the time. Do not touch the walls too much and look around every corner... and more importantly, keep looking over your shoulder! 


The Ventriqulouist experience involved clowns and circus themes as you go from room to room throughout the tour. Even though today is the last day for this, the normal London Bridge experience is just as good! 

Ticket prices start from £15.50 for adults and from £13.25 for children and can be purchased at AttractionTix. I highly recommend going along if you love things like this. I certainly came out a little terrified of walking back to the tube station in the dark! 

Disclaimer: I was invited along to review the experience. All words are my own and I do 100% recommend the experience. 
SHARE:

30/10/2016

DAY OF THE DEAD MEXICAN FEAST WITH SANTA MARIA


If you're new to my blog, you may or may not know that Mexican food is my favourite. From fajitas to burritos and nachos; I can't get enough!

1st November celebrates the beginning of Day of the Dead; the Mexican yearly holiday which  despite the name actually celebrates life. Expect parties, festivals and non-stop food and drink! 


To celebrate my favourite food (ever!), Santa Maria kindly sent me over a big box of everything I could ever need for a Mexican feast. I couldn't wait to get started and luckily, it was just in time for Day of The Dead next week!


I decided to cook both tacos and fajitas as I was cooking for everyone anyway. I added 100ml of water and the Santa Maria Taco Seasoning Mix to a pack of minced meat after it was cooked. I did the same to the chicken after cooking it; using the Santa Maria Fajita Seasoning Mix


These packets of seasoning mixes are great as you don't have to worry about buying extra sauces to mix the meat in. The powder is packed full of different spices, making it super easy to achieve authentic tasting mexican dishes at home. 


I also chopped up some peppers and added these into the chicken mix for the fajitas. Whilst both meats were sizzling away, I made some nachos using the Santa Maria Crispy Corn Tortilla Chips. These come in a HUGE bag so is definitely a family sized portion! They also taste like true Mexican tortilla chips, rather than the cheap tasting supermarket own ones we usually get. 

I added BBQ sauce and cheddar cheese after learning a tip from someone recently. These bad boys taste DIVINE once they have been in the oven for 15-20 minutes. 


Next it was time to dish it up and let everyone tuck in. I have to say I am definitely a fajita girl at heart and absolutely loved the spicy taste of the chicken due to the seasoning in the mix. The peppers really added something too. 


We scooped the mince into the the Santa Maria Taco Shells which were really yummy but very delicate so do use a light hand! The Tortilla Wraps also by Santa Maria were really soft and easy to wrap the chicken and peppers in; meaning no mess or floppy fajitas! Use sauces such as the Santa Maria Salsa for that extra kick! 


There we have it! A huge Mexican feast perfect for the family or a cosy night in with your lover. Add a bottle of wine and you're set to have a Mex-tastic time! Also just in time for Day of the Dead. Mexican food Tuesday, anyone?

Disclaimer: Products sent to me for the purpose of this post, but all words, opinions and photographs are my own. 
SHARE:

28/10/2016

THE 4 BEST GAMES TO PLAY THIS HALLOWEEN

Halloween is finally upon us, which means it’s time to turn out the lights, boot up your desktop and play some scary games. If you’re a fan of horror games, chances are you’ve played one of the various Slender Man titles that the Internet has to offer, so here are some alternatives that you may not have yet discovered. Enjoy!

Day of The Dead


"
hellaweiner" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by sa0irse
If you’re looking for a Halloween-themed game that isn’t too scary, IGT’s Day of the Dead slot is probably your best bet. Based on Mexico’s Day of the Dead festival, this slot is as magical as it is macabre with bright colours, mariachi music and more sugar skulls than you can shake a femur at.
Unlike more conventional slots, Day of the Dead features a hexagonal reel and a special wagering system, so all players have to do is get three matching symbols anywhere on the gameboard to win. So where can you play this slot? Well, bgo offers a vast selection of slot games you can play this Halloween including Day of the Dead, plus you'll receive 20 free spins when you register. You can also try the Halloween Fortune slot machine at bgo – it captures the essence of the holiday with its carved pumpkins, black cats, potions and a trio of witches who appear during the main bonus feature
If you’re more of an online bingo player, Ball Bingo is hosting a Hocus Pocus Bingo Tourney where you could snatch some serious treats and Bingo Billy is giving away Halloween goodie bags during four different Halloween promotions this October.

Midnight Man


"
Moon" (CC BY 2.0) by Luigi Mengato
Let’s kick things up a notch now with the free-to-play horror game Midnight Man. Inspired by Creepypasta and possibly Slender Man, this game is going to get your heart racing and your hands shaking. The aim of the game is to avoid the Midnight Man by whatever means necessary, though this is a little trickier than you’d think.
Set in the middle of a dark night, the player must explore an empty house accompanied only by a candle. This candle serves as your only light source and will also signal when the Midnight Man is nearby by flickering or going out. It is then that you’ll hear a whisper and the Midnight Man will appear. You will then have ten seconds to reignite your candle, but if you don’t the Midnight Man will get you and the game is over.
If that doesn’t scare you then I don’t know what will!

SCP: Containment Breach


Fans of YouTube gamer Markiplier may have heard of SCP: Containment Breach before, but those of you who haven’t are in for a treat. This title is similar to Slender Man in that it was inspired by a collaborative writing project, though there are also some Men in Black and Twilight Zone vibes in this game too.
The aim of SCP: Containment Breach is to keep an eye on a variety of monsters, most notably SCP 173, a living sculpture that gets a little mischievous when the player isn’t looking at it. That doesn’t seem too hard, so what’s the catch? Well, there’s a blinking mechanic built into the game so if your test subject character blinks at the wrong time SCP 173 or one of his buddies will get you.
Unlike Day of the Dead or Midnight Man, SCP: Containment Breach is a download available on Windows.

Deep Sleep


"
nightmare" (CC BY 2.0) by Jon Bunting

Last but not least we have a point-and-click adventure game that’s more than a little reminiscent of Silent Hill. Not only are the graphics intentionally dark and pixelated, there’s no way to know what you will be confronted with throughout the game unless you play it.
You see, Deep Sleep is set within a terrifying nightmare world where you are confronted with puzzles (and monsters) that are just screaming to be solved. Literally. The more puzzles you solve the closer you will be to waking up from this horrific nightmare. With intoxicatingly creepy music and an eerie atmosphere, even the most hardcore horror fans are sure to be shaken by Deep Sleep.

You can spend hours and hours playing these games this Halloween, so whether you’re planning to head over to bgo to celebrate the Day of the Dead or to walk through a living nightmare in Deep Sleep, have a happy, haunting Halloween! 

Written by Melanie Isted. 
SHARE:

27/10/2016

5 THINGS TO REMEMBER IF YOU STILL LIVE AT HOME IN YOUR 20'S

I still live at home with my parents and I feel like I should be ashamed to admit this; but I'm not. I have only JUST started to think about my future and the possibility of moving out within the next couple of years. However, I thought I would remind us 20 something year old's who still live at home; it's completely fine to do so. 

Here are 5 simple things to remember....


1) IT'S FINE! 

The amount of snide comments I get about being 23 and still living at home is ridiculous. I live comfortably with my parents and sibling simply because I want to. It's not about not being able to afford rent (although London seriously - sort your prices out!). I just like being around my family and having that feeling of being in a home with people I know. As much as I love independence and freedom, I still achieve this by buying my own food and going about my own business outside of work. 

2) Your space is your space for a reason, so make it your own. 

My room is genuinely always tidy. Of course, there are some days where I'm rushing to make the next tube to work so I'll forget to make the bed. I'm awful at regularly cleansing my makeup brushes and there's guaranteed to be some sort of wardrobe explosion on my floor if I'm undecided on what to wear one morning. However, keeping it tidy gives me a tidy mind and I enjoy coming home to a fresh and clean space to relax in. 


3) No shame 

I have no shame in telling friends or a guy (in my non existent love life) that I still live at home. Actually, I'm quite proud to say I do because it means I have a strong relationship with my family; enough for them to not want me to hurry up and fly the nest. 

It's a nice feeling coming home to people that I can enjoy dinner or a movie with and not having to worry about my hair being thrown on top of my head and the top i'm wearing having a ketchup stain. 

4) Independence is a virtue

If you have the opportunity to explore, travel and go about your daily business without a worry in the world; then you're already living a great life. I often take so many things for granted but knowing I have things like good health and a supportive network of friends and family; it keeps me going. I don't rely on my parents for money or food for example. I am completely independent in that respect. I have the opportunity right in front of me to work in the best city in the world and earn my own money and so naturally; that's the path I have chosen. 

5) Remember to respect the house and everyone in it

Sometimes we all lose our way and it might be a small thing to yourself like forgetting to wash your plate up after dinner or leaving your cereal bowl in the sink to harden. However, it's these small things that are a big deal to other people you live with so it's important to remember who has given you the opportunity to live comfortably and safely under a roof. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm no angel daughter who does everything by the housekeeping book, but it's important to remember to tidy up after yourself. 

There we have it. 5 things to remember if you're still living at home in your 20's! 

Disclaimer: In collaboration with The Personal Agent but all words and opinions are my own. 
SHARE:

23/10/2016

PAN CHAI PAN-ASIAN RESTAURANT, HARRODS


I was recently invited along to a Pan Asian restaurant called Pan Chai, on the ground floor of Harrods. I don't tend to really adventure into Asian food too much but I decided to branch out and give it a try as it was the perfect opportunity to do so. I also haven't been to Harrods since I was a young child so I definitely got lost walking around the 5 different floors as it's absolutely huge! 


I took my mum as my +1 and we eventually found Pan Chai in the food court with other restaurants and was pleasantly surprised to see how different it looked to what I was expecting. It was like a traditional Japanese restaurant. There was one row of bench like seats which followed all the way around the counter area. 


In front of us was a glass panel in which they kept lobsters and fresh fish. It was nice to see that the fish you would be eating was fresh and not frozen.


We were seated to the left side of the bench and had chopsticks and a small jug of soya sauce each for our dishes; with a dish to pour the soya into. Straight away, we was offered drinks and so got a glass of wine and some bottled still water whilst we caught up about how our week was going with work and general life. 


It was explained to us by the manager Kimmy and the male host that we could choose anything we like from the menu. Pan Chai is a Japanese restaurant so a lot of their dishes focus around sushi and fish. Neither of us had ever tried sushi before but I'm always about trying new foods when the opportunity arises. 


We was recommended the tuna and salmon sushi which arrived beautifully presented. It was like art! Made to look like two flowers on a plate; we were in awe of the creativity the chefs had used so I was really sad to dig in and ruin their masterpiece! 


It was going to be a 50/50 situation as I'm not a huge fish lover and this fish was raw. I attempted to try a bit of the tuna (it's the only fish I like but only canned) and I didn't like the texture or the taste. It was a really over powering fish taste (well, duh!) but my taste buds just couldn't hack it. 

However, my mum LOVED it and wolfed down the whole plate of sushi! Being a sushi novice however, she did forget to dip her wasabi into the soya sauce so sat there red faced and puffy eyed for the rest of the night...


Next, our main meals arrived. My mum went for lobster rolls which was a gamble because we have both only had lobster once. These rolls were wrapped in vine like leaves with avocado and sushi rice and were SO yummy! The lobster itself was in the middle in chunks (and is cooked fresh the same day) and was crispy and so tasty. I was really surprised that I liked them!  Again, presentation was perfect as you can see! 


Finally, my meal arrived and looked so scrumptious sitting on my plate. I went for the Chicken Medallion which is chicken in a spicy BBQ sauce with sticky rice and salad; aswell as a few spicy cherry tomatoes and sweet potato fries. 


We both tried it at the same time and it's without a doubt... the spiciest thing I've ever eaten. The man did warn me but I do love spicy food. It was really tasty though and the rice and having three drinks (wine, water and a Diet Coke) meant that it was easy to disguise the spicy taste in my mouth. 

The sauce on the chicken was spicy but it complimented the chicken really well. It's something I would definitely recommend ordering if you ever go to Pan Chai if you love spicy food. 


All in all, we had a fantastic service at Pan Chai. The food was outstanding with a beautiful presentation to accompany. We felt very welcome and extremely looked after from start to finish. I definitely recommend visiting here if you have a fleeting visit to Knightsbridge, love Japanese food AND you happen to be hungry! 

Disclaimer: A meal for 2 was provided in return for an honest review on my blog. All words, opinions and photographs are my own. 
SHARE:

21/10/2016

CLARINS BEAUTYBAR S.O.S FACIAL, INTU LAKESIDE


Despite loving beauty and having written about the subject for 5 solid years; I've never actually had a facial or similar treatment before. 

When Clarins got in touch to ask me if I was interested in reviewing their latest invention; I couldn't say no as I was really intrigued! The BeautyBAR is pretty much what it says on the tin. A bar that you can visit for quick treatments such as facials, massages and even makeovers. 

I was invited along to Debenhams at intu Lakeside shopping centre and was booked in for a 5pm slot; for a 30 minute facial.


Upon arriving, I was introduced to Nicole who was going to be my therapist for the treatment. I was told to take a seat and relax whilst she prepped for the treatment. The beauty bar is within Debenhams and is a part of the Clarins makeup counter. However, it is very much secluded in itself and is private so no shoppers will see what's going on! The room is bright, white and very relaxing as they play spa type music which is really soothing and gets you on right frame of mind for a facial. 


Nicole was really comfortable to talk to and we had a talk about my skincare regime and how I look after my skin. I decided to have a facial because I had never had one before, so I was really excited but nervous because my skin is quite sensitive and I know what does and what doesn't work for me. 

Firstly, Nicole had to assess what kind of facial I required exactly. To do this, she touched my face and stroked my skin (as weird as it sounds) and told me my skin is clear and healthy but is quite dehydrated. A transition of seasons and catching the tube twice a day is probably the reason for this! Therefore, Nicole chose the 'SOS Facial' for me which like all the other facials; is charged at just £25.


Nicole used a number of different products during my facial. She started by removing my makeup using the Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Cottonseed (£19.50), which was really gentle to my skin. However, it's not to be used on eye makeup as it can sting! 


The HydraQuench Lotion (£36) and HydraQuench Cream-Mask (£34) were used next and massaged into my face; whilst Nicole turned her hands in all kinds of twisted positions. Nicole also used her hands to press down on my skin and 'push' against it; almost like a suction effect. I've never used any of these hand movements when applying masks to my face so are definitely something I may try out in the future! 


The masque was then cleansed off using hot face mitts and the Camomile Toning Lotion (£24.50) was then applied to get off last of the masque. A sheet of large tissue was then laid on top of my face to soak up the extra toning lotion that hadn't quite absorbed into my face.


 The facial was amazing and my skin has truly never felt so good. I was really worried that my skin would break out due to the introduction of brand new products I had never tried before. However, my skin remained calm and looked bright and youthful like it should do for a 23 year old. 

Since then, I have been using some of the products used in the facial and have really enjoyed using them. My skin is really glowing at the moment and I've even been told how great my skin looks by people at work.  

The facials are so affordable at just £25 per facial. It is recommended to have one every 6-8 weeks to cleanse your skin of impurities. They make great gifts too, especially with Christmas around the corner!

Clarins BeautyBAR's are available in select Debenhams and John Lewis stores. I totally recommend going to have one so do check to see where your nearest BeautyBAR is!

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with intu Lakeside shopping centre and Clarins. However, all words, opinions and photographs are my own. 
SHARE:

16/10/2016

HOUSE OF HOLLAND X ELEGANT TOUCH HAIR ACCESSORIES

Last week, I was exclusively invited to an evening event with the babes at Elegant Touch. They often collaborate with different designers and brands; but the one they regularly collaborate with is Henry Holland. 

Henry Holland if you didn't know is a British fashion designer who has his own fashion label called House of Holland. His designs are well known for being quirky, vibrant and full of life. He has now adventured into hair by collaborating with Elegant Touch to bring you House of Holland Hair.He has collaborated with them before by bringing out his own range of different fake nail designs (which I happen to LOVE!) and so he took a risky but admirable step in his new fashion meets beauty career; by bringing out his own hair accessories collection. 


The event was held at a hair salon called The Hare and Bone in Central London and it was all happening in the basement/downstairs of the salon. When we arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see Henry Holland himself was there mingling with the attendees and talking about his collection. a little fan girl moment for sure!



Champagne and canapés were flowing and it was great to finally meet the girls at Elegant Touch after working with them for a few years. I took my friend and we was given the opportunity to get our hair done by the stylists at the salon using the HH hair accessories. There was some pictures on show that we could choose from so I went for a sleek, high top bun. 



A Tie Me Up hair scrunchie was used to wrap around the bun and some fun pin style hair clips were added on the side. I have short layers in my hair so it wasn't the best style for me to choose but I love the black against my grey hair! 



A giant Instagram frame was floating around for us to take selfies in so of course we couldn't resist one of those! 



The collection itself is extremely risky, flirty and sexy. It's made up of 6 different hair accessories and boasts names such as 'Pin Me Down' for the hair clips and 'Tie Me Up' for the hair scrunchies. Very raunchy and very Henry Holland. Have you also noticed how many likes the insta-frame has above Saucy.

The hair accessories are very 80's inspired as they are huge and look great in up dos that are big and very in your face. My particular favourite is the PVC Tie Me Up hair scrunchie which was used in my hair style on the night. I personally can't imagine wearing the Hold Me Back bunny ears but it is fun and would look super cute with a little dress in the summer! 

Elegant Touch X Henry Holland hair accessories range from xx to £10.95 and are available at www.eleganttouch.co.uk and exclusively at Boots stores as of 17th October! 

FYI! I am running a giveaway over on my Twitter for two people to win some of Elegant Touch x Henry Holland hair accessories! Just follow me on Twitter @Ashllyd and RT the tweet below. Giveaway is open until 23/10 and winners will be announced on my Twitter. UK only. 


SHARE:
Blogger Template Created by pipdig