Blog by Ashleigh Dougherty

31/05/2017

ACHIEVE THE PERFECT GOLDEN TAN WITH ST MORIZ


I remember the days I never used to touch tanning products. The fear of turning my milky coloured skin into a muddy brown shade is something that terrified me. However, starting a blog means that I am introduced to beauty products all the time. I have tried out so many different fake tans and have reviewed a few that I like; including Lauren's Way and Sienna-X Gradual Tan.

However, I have now found the best tan for me and it also just happens to be the cheapest too!


I have been using St Moriz tanning products for a good few months now and haven't been reaching for anything else. For somebody who used to be terrified of looking like she had dipped her arms and legs in a bucket of gravy, I swear by these products and have no hesitation in applying them to my entire body; including my face.

Let me give you a run down on four St Moriz products that I have been trying out over the last few months.


St Moriz Advanced Pro Formula Primer
I've never used a tanning primer before and usually just apply a tan after scrubbing my body in the shower. However, this is a tanning primer retailing at just £3.29, that is specifically made to prep the skin before tanning products are applied. It exfoliates your skin, getting rid of any dead skin cells and extends the life of your tan once applied.

I've tried tanning with and without the primer and have found a tan lasts a few days longer when I use the St Moriz primer. 


This was the first tanning product by St Moriz that I tried and I was so surprised at how good it was. I would always usually reach for tanning products in 'Light' or 'Fair', but this Medium shade took me by surprise indeed. 

Firstly, a 200ml bottle retails at £5.29 and has lasted me for well over 6 months. This product in particular has an instant colour upon application, so is great for nights out or any time that you need a last minute application. I use a tanning mitt to apply the mousse formula and found it did seep through, so I now use a plastic glove underneath the mitt. A handy little tip to prevent your hands from staining!

The colour is beautiful and doesn't leave my skin looking muddy at all. As it's an instant tan, it does wash off straight away which is an absolute positive if you need a temporary colour. 


My favourite tanning product to use is now the advance pro formula. It's in the same shade Medium as the Instant Tan and has the same mousse formulation. However, it has a slight instant colour but develops up to 6 hours. Once it's applied, you wash it off without using any body washes, body sprays or perfumes and it leaves a golden tan underneath. 


I find this is perfect for me as it can last for a lot longer. I find after about 4 showers, it needs topping up. However, this is much better than an instant tan washing off straight away and is great if you need something to last a bit longer.  Again, a 200ml bottle is only £5.29.


Due to being so used to using mousse formulations, I was a little apprehensive about using a spray tan in a bottle. I found it distributed well from the bottle, but was quite difficult to blend into the skin as easily as it was with the mousse tans. 

I find that you have to work quite quickly with it and work it into the skin before it dries. Not my favourite type of formulation, but the colour pay off is nice if you have the patience to work quickly! The Spray Fast Tan retails for £5.95.

All St Moriz products are available at Superdrug stores and online.

Disclaimer: PR samples. All words and photographs are my own.
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29/05/2017

#ASHLLYDFIT - A NEW FOUND FITNESS JOURNEY


Welcome to a self-taught fitness journey; to become a lean, toned and stronger woman.

I have never been a size 8 and I am happy with that. I don't remember a time that I stood on the scales and weighed in anything less than 10 stone either, but I am happy with that too. 

I remember when we moved to the area that I live in now and had to register at a doctor's surgery. I think I was around the 12/13 age mark and I remember having a routine checkup upon registration. My blood pressure was taken and my weight. I specifically remember the nurse looking a little apprehensive and asking me to step outside whilst she spoke to my mum. I knew what she was telling my mum. That I was overweight and needed to start shifting some weight. 

Back then, I felt huge because I was made to feel like I was huge. I went through years of bullying through both primary and secondary school, being called 'fat' and 'chubby'. As a young girl growing up, this is incredibly damaging and I felt so unhappy in the skin I was in. Looking back now? I was a 15 year old, size 10 young woman, with bigger boobs than my friends and curves which my friends hadn't yet developed. Yet, it was drummed into me that I was fat. 

I also really hope the nurse has either retired or been educated a little better on what should be labelled as 'overweight'. I also wish these people from my schooling life would stop trying to add me on Facebook.


I have been recently body shamed on social media by fellow bloggers and I am ashamed and embarrassed. If you feel the need to shoot people down for the way the look, please stop. It was quite clear to myself and other people that these girls are so insecure about themselves. The only way to make themselves feel better about being unhappy in their own bodies, is to laugh about somebody else's. 

I have posed in underwear on my blog because I am a confident 24 year old woman. This doesn't make me "trashy", nor does it make me an "attention seeker" or any of the other vile things people have said about me. I fucking love my curves. I love my boobs. I do have a love/hate relationship with my stomach, but it's a part of me and I accepted that years ago. I don't shy away from showing and writing about what I love, so why is my body any different? 

Lingerie brand collaborations are my favourite and I am so proud that brands notice me for how confident I am with my body. 


We are all born naked into the world and spend the majority of our younger years running around naked. We all got changed into P.E clothes at school in front of each other and all had to climb into swimming costumes/shorts for our best friend's birthday party. We all take our clothes off at the end of the day and we all get up close and personal with someone we are about to sleep with. We all bathe with no clothes on and get undressed in shop's changing rooms. We all prance about in bikinis and swimming trunks whilst on holiday and we are all undressed by strangers when we die. 

There is nothing wrong with being naked and there is certainly nothing wrong in covering up your intimate parts and embracing the rest. 


I have been eating clean and going to the gym 5 times a week for about 5 weeks, but I don't restrict myself with food. I still treat myself to a bit of chocolate every now and then and it's important to remember that is what makes up a balanced diet. I also haven't drank diet coke for 6 months. I mostly always drink water now and have seen an incredible difference in my skin and energy levels. 


When I stepped on the scales 2 weeks ago, I had put 5 pounds on and was horrified and very baffled as to what I was doing wrong. However, I now realise this is my body building muscle, as I have started seeing visible changes to my body. I have since lost that 5 pounds again, which I should imagine is me losing body fat whilst building muscle.


There's 4 weeks difference between these two photos. My legs are more muscular and my stomach is somewhat flatter. I've been working my arse off in the gym; usually spending 2/2.5 hours in there per day. Now the hard work is starting to show and it makes me more determined to keep going.

What do I want from the gym?

I am honestly not really interested in losing weight, which is why I concentrate more on weight training than hitting up the treadmill for an hour. A mistake so many people make who want to build muscle.

Whilst I sit on the scales at double numbers, I know this is a mix of having bigger boobs, hips, a bum; and now muscle.  I think the biggest mistake that a person can make is obsessing over numbers. I don't rush to the scales after every workout. In fact, I weigh myself only a few times per year. 

Numbers don't mean anything and this is SO important to remember. Being a size 12 on top is considered "plus size", which absolutely baffles me. Having bigger boobs means I can't quite slide into those size 10 tops as much I probably could do if my DD's were B's instead. I'm a true size 12 in bottoms, because I have a butt. However, I have some bottoms that are size 10s and some size 12s are too big for me. The UK sizing is all over the place lately which is why I don't obsess over it. I know that I don't fit into Topshop Mom jeans and H&M jeans are too small for me; even at a size 16! 

Outrageously ludicrous. 


I have wanted to start a fitness section on my blog for ages, so this is the first instalment. I will probably update every month with progress, so it will be interesting to look back and see how far I have come. 

I have a long term goal in mind and I know it will take a couple of years to get there. However, with my dedication to the gym and a balanced diet, I know I will get there eventually. So, watch out for my next lingerie blog post - there's loads more coming for sure and I can't wait to rock it.
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24/05/2017

ELSIE REVIEWS TASTYBONE TOYS AND BONES


Having a large breed dog is all fun and games until it comes to getting her toys. She has very sharp teeth and a big mouth, so toys have to be large and durable if they are going to last longer than five minutes. I have completely given up buying them from the supermarket, as she bites straight through them and they end up in the bin by the time I've unpacked all of the shopping! 


When TastyBone got in touch to ask whether Elsie would be interested in trying some of their products, I couldn't help but see the word 'durable' being used a lot in their initial email. I was a little hesitant as I was certain that Elsie would remain undefeated, but I was told that they are fantastic toys for breeds like Labradors and German Shepherds; so they should work perfectly for her.

Elsie decided to chill out whilst I got everything ready to show her what she had been kindly sent from TastyBone.


Inside the box was lots of silver tinsel, which I placed on the floor so I could get the products out of the box. However, I think Elsie thought this was a toy in itself!


I politely told her to leave it alone so that we could play with her new toys and she looked rather smug with herself...


Until she saw a dove pigeon land in her garden and she made sure that it wouldn't come anywhere near her new toys OR her silver tinsel!


Apparently, Mummy took too long setting everything up, so Elsie decided to have a nap on the pillow of silver tinsel.


UNTIL... I said come on Elsie, choose a toy! TastyBone sent a variety of different flavoured Nylon chew bones; including bacon and chicken (£8.84 each).  They also included two Dental Trio Bones (£17.98 each); one in peanut butter flavour and another in cinnamon. I have to admit that as a human, I was incredibly excited about the peanut butter one!

Finally, they included a Mighty Bounce Ring, which is a rubber ring that bounces and floats in water. We are yet to try this one out as Elsie wants to save it for a trip to the forest when she swims in the lakes!

But for now, it was down to Elsie to choose a toy or two to open...


Five minutes later...

Elsie chooses the cinnamon Dental Trio Bone! Time to open it and see if she likes it and if it lasts!


It's as if she knew she had to smile for a photo in order to get her new toy. It didn't take her too long before she got bored of posing and just wanted to play!


Elsie took her new toy and ran off with it straight away to see what it was all about. We are a week into her playing with this toy and a Chicken flavoured bone toy and I think they are her new favourite toys as she hasn't left them alone!

She has been non stop chewing them and although she has made a bit of damage to the Nylon bones, she hasn't made a dent in the Dental Trio Bones (yet!). I am very pleased about this as I am sure the nobbly bits on the toy are doing wonders for her teeth. As she hates having her teeth brushed, dental products are vital for Elsie. Although, she ALWAYS gets compliments on her Hollywood smile!


I am very pleased to see that these products have lasted longer than I could have ever anticipated. Even if they do need replacing after a few months, anything is better than having to buy toys every week! Elsie loves them and I fully recommend them to any dog owners that know the struggle of wasting money on toys that end up being ripped into bits within minutes!

TastyBone products are available for purchase from their Amazon shop.

Disclaimer: PR samples. All words and photographs are my own.
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22/05/2017

5 THINGS TO INTRODUCE TO YOUR SUMMER WARDROBE

Did you know that 52% of us women agreed that Summer is our favourite season? That being said, Summer is just around the corner and I personally cannot wait. Today, the sun is shining in London (for once!) and I am really enjoying these sunny rays.

This weekend, I am going to be going through my wardrobe and putting away all of my jumpers; ready to make room for all of my summer clothes and anything new that I am bound to buy too. Doing this chore twice a year can be a little loathsome, but with some good music and black bin bags to the rescue, it can be made fun too.


I am going on holiday next month, so I am in need of some new summer items in my wardrobe. Putting swimwear aside, I am actually in need of some basics. I thought I would put together a post on 5 things every woman should introduce to her summer wardrobe and hopefully inspire you to have a Spring clean ready for Summer!

Slogan Tees
I wear slogan tees quite often and have quite a lot in my wardrobe. I find they are mega easy to style; whether it's with some jeans or tucked into a skirt or shorts. I also wear them a lot on holiday on top of swimwear if I am nipping to the shops or walking to the beach. They're really versatile pieces to have in your wardrobe.


Lingerie and Underwear
I am forever wearing and styling new lingerie and have no problem in spending my money on new bits every now and then. Think of underwear to be like moisturising before adding foundation to your face. If you don't moisturise, then your foundation won't apply nicely. So, if you're wearing a bra that is too big for your or knickers that are too tight on your hips; you're going to not only feel rubbish about yourself, but it will feel right underneath your clothes.

Chums are a fantastic brand to go to for basic underwear and lingerie. Not only do they have a wide range of different types of bras, but they are also one of the few brands I have seen that do front fastening bras. These are perfect if you struggle with doing bras up. I've lost count of the amount of times I've pulled a muscle in my back trying to do my bra up!


Dresses
I don't know about you, but I am SO excited at being able to wear dresses and bare legs again. I actually live in dresses during the summer, so I am really looking forward to tanned legs and cute dresses. I have quite a few thin cotton dresses, but I really want to invest in some more tea dresses; either with floral prints or lace/silk detailing.


Midi Skirts
I am unfortunately too short to be able to wear maxi length skirts and dresses, so midi or mini is the way forward for me. I actually shy away from midi skirts quite often, but I have seen some gorgeous styles recently which I may end up buying. I love this black textured one from Chums, which would look great with a slogan tee!


Sandals
Finally, I cannot wait to ditch my boots and trainers for sandals and flip flops. I've actually recently bought my first ever pair of sliders, which I am really looking forward to wearing. It also means it's a valid excuse to have to paint my toes!

There's 5 things you should introduce to your wardrobe, so you can feel confident this Summer. I am now off to browse all the online shops for new sandals and dresses for my holiday! Don't forget... #StyleIsTimeless.

Disclaimer: In collaboration with Chums. All words and opinions are my own.
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17/05/2017

FIND LOCAL PROFESSIONALS WITH BIDVINE

We've all been there when we need a professional to do something. It's easy to scout the internet for a person for the job, but sometimes finding the right person for the job needs to be a priority.

Bidvine is the website to go to if you're in the process of looking for a professional to carry out a service for you. I had never heard of the website before, but it's something I always consider now when needing to find a professional for a service.


Whether you're looking for a photographer for your wedding, a piano teacher for your child or a gardener to plant some flowers; you're guaranteed to find someone for the job with Bidvine.

To test the service, I recently decided to look for a personal trainer within my area. I am going to the gym 4-5 times per week, but I feel like a personal trainer would help to push me to my absolute maximum. All  I did was type in that I am looking for a personal trainer and also included my postcode.


Straight away, I was asked a series of questions relating to looking for a personal trainer. I answered that I go to the gym 4 times per week and am looking for a personal trainer to work with my once a week; preferably every Monday between 9am and 12pm. I also added that my goal is to tone up.

My request was then sent off and I awaited bids from different personal trainers. They send in their hourly or day rates, biographies etc and it's then up to me to choose the right person for the job.


It took a little while, but the requests soon came in and I was able to choose a personal trainer who I felt was the right person for me. It does take a while to sift through all of the interests, but once you find the right person, the process is a breeze.

Carl is a 30 year old personal trainer, who specialises in body toning and muscle growth. He also puts together nutritional plans which I have been sticking to; alongside exercise everyday. I have trained with him a few times now and all is going great!

I highly recommend Bidvine as the place to go for a professional local to do any jobs that you have available. We have since used the service to look for someone to plaster a wall in our house and luckily found the right man for the job in no time.

Disclaimer: In collaboration with Bidvine. All words are my own. 

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16/05/2017

WHY A COHABITATION AGREEMENT IS IMPORTANT WHEN MOVING IN TOGETHER

I've just bought one of them crunchy duck feather duvets which cost me £30. Quite a lot for a duvet when you're single, so it got me thinking. If I was in a happy enough relationship to be able to live with someone, then home essentials would be equally split between myself and the guy. However, that's not possible right now, so the duvet is mine, for my bed in my bedroom.

This got me thinking about the future and if I will ever live with someone. I have never been in a long enough relationship where I have had that initial I want to live with him one day thought and I don't think it will be happening anytime soon. With the rise of divorce lawyers being hired to see the journey of a divorce from start to finish; even marriage is just not something I want to get involved with so young.


I am honestly really enjoying being single right now and being able to do my own thing. For the first time, I actually don't care about dating or trying to maintain a conversation with someone. I tweeted this the other day, but the time I would usually put into a guy, I am now putting into myself at the gym and it's the best feeling! I haven't got any intentions of trying to look for love and feel like it's the best way to be when you're just so fed up of being treated the same way by different guys. No one proves that they are different.

Anyway, what with all of the political business going on at the moment, I doubt I will be able to afford to move out within the next few years. I will never want to house share, so will I ever be able to afford to live on my own? Do I just wait for the day where a hot guy falls in love with me, does all of the right things and we coincidentally end up in Ikea on a Sunday shopping for bits for our kitchen?


Cohabitation is quite a scary prospect for me. I don't want to be picking up crusty boxers at the end of  our bed (even worse if they are Marvel ones) and I certainly don't want to be the one slaving away peeling carrots and potatoes every evening.

Considering relationships never seem to work out for me, a cohabitation agreement is something that I would consider if I ever moved in with someone. This encourages couples to talk about their intentions before moving in together and what should happen if the relationship ever broke down.

Who's going to claim the velvet sofa? What about the brand new 50 inch TV?  Who gets the dog? Well, it's all in your cohabitation agreement that can be drawn up by London divorce lawyers, prior to moving in.


Moving in with a partner is a big step in any relationship and I look forward to the day where I feel ready to do this with someone. However, there are many things to consider if a break up was to ever happen. I personally would prefer to secure such a big step in my relationship and have everything covered from day one. Whilst it's not good to have negative thoughts about the future, it's also a good idea to be prepared should anything ever happen.

Oh, and I would definitely get first dibs on the dog. Just saying.

Disclaimer: In collaboration with KMJ Solicitors. All words are my own.
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15/05/2017

THE CONTRACEPTIVE PILL: MY EXPERIENCE

I have read so many stories about different experiences from women who have been on the contraceptive pill. Some have been positive stories and some have been negative. However, here is my experience.

The contraceptive pill is used not only to prevent pregnancies, but to also control mood swings and help with menstrual cramps too. It's a daunting thing walking into a doctor's surgery and asking them to prescribe you the contraceptive pill. I didn't know back then that you can get contraceptive pills online at The Independent Pharmacy. They have so many different types of pills available, you're bound to find the right one for you.


I have been taking the contraceptive pill on and off for around 4 years now. I have been on two different pills and had two completely different experiences with it.

When I got into a relationship in 2012, I decided that it was best for me to go on the pill to be safe and so I made that dreaded doctors appointment. My doctor is a man which makes "the talk" even more daunting, but I decided to just word-vomit why I wanted the pill.

My doctor went through the different contraceptive methods with me; including the coil and the injection. Looking back now, these are methods of contraception that I would have liked to try, but I always felt the pill was an easy enough solution for me.

For the first few months, the pill I was on was fine and worked for me. Not only were my periods lighter and shorter, but I was also able to have sex without the fear of getting pregnant*. However, leading up to the break of that relationship, I soon felt like getting out of bed was a struggle. I never seemed to laugh anymore and every day just seemed to be extra long and tedious, so I went back to my doctor and told him how I was feeling. To this day, I have no idea if that was down to the relationship or the pill. However, I decided to stop taking it altogether.


I soon came out of that relationship and had to no reason to start a pill again, because I wasn't having regular sex with anyone. However, the summer was soon approaching and holidays were being booked and I also had my parents' wedding to attend. I didn't really want to be on my period for any of these events, so I decided to enquire about going back onto the pill.

I had a chat with my doctor and he decided to put me on a different pill. This was back in 2014 and since then, I have been on and off with another contraceptive pill from a different brand. Each pack has 21 pills and then there's a 7 day break of no pills, which is when my period comes. It usually comes on day 3 of the pill free week and only lasts 2-3 days - literally the best thing ever! 

This is the best pill I have been on and the only one that I would consider staying on until I am ready to start a family in the future. It works for me and I have no complaints in the 3 years that I've been taking it. However, every woman's body is different so it may take trying a few different pills before you find the one that is right for you.

* I am aware that the contraceptive pill is not 100% effective and that there's a small chance that pregnancy can still occur. 

Disclaimer: In collaboration with The Independent Pharmacy. All words are my own. 
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12/05/2017

TRAVEL AROUND CITIES IN STYLE WITH BLACKLANE

Stock image via Pixabay

Visiting different cities is one of my favourite things to do when it comes to making those yearly travel plans. Whether it's hopping on my local tube and heading into my own capital or stepping off the plane and into a taxi that's heading into New York City; I love the hustle and bustle of a city.

However, I will hold my hands up and say I'm not really a fan of getting the tube. Even though I know the London tube map off by heart and could direct myself from A to B with my eyes shut; I generally don't enjoy the commute.

When I worked in the city, I would often have to run to meetings and run errands. Sometimes, these would be on the other side of town or the city and it's no fun getting a tube during rush hour; especially when it's like a sauna in those carriages during Summer.  Central line, I am looking at you.

Stock image via Pixabay
Whilst it's convenient to order a cab via an app on your smartphone, it can also be incredibly frustrating trying to find your car in the middle of London. There's usually double red lines on the streets, so you sometimes have to spend 15 minutes chasing down your car. This is super annoying when you're running late for a meeting or need to get from one side of the city to the other to pick the kids up from the nanny, so wouldn't it better to pre-book your car?

Blacklane cars are the alternative to the traditional taxi and something I will definitely be considering. Working across 250 cities (London and even Bejing use this service), you simply book your car through the website or app (available on Android and the App Store). Add in your pick up address, drop off address, date and time and your car will be booked in advance. The price for your car is confirmed before the booking, so there's no nasty hidden charges which we all dread when booking things.

Stock image via Pixabay
There's no need to worry that you're going to miss your car either as there's a free 15 minute wait time for all pick ups. Theres even a free 60 minute wait time for all airport pickups, so if you're delayed waiting for your luggage; your car will still be waiting.

You are guaranteed to be driven around by licensed and insured drivers, who will send you confirmation texts when your car is both on its way and its arrival.

No longer need your pre-booked car? You can cancel your booked car for free up to 1 hour before its scheduled arrival. Perfect if you've decided to go for a last minute dinner in the city instead of heading home or maybe your meeting's been cancelled.

Stock image via Pixabay

You get the chance to choose your car type too, so if you're looking for something a little more classier, then that's no problem.

Business Class cars are the standard car if you're on a budget, whilst still being comfortable to travel in. A Merceded E-Class or BMW 5 series are examples, which can fit a maximum of 3 people in.

Business Vans are for the travellers who need more room. These can travel up to 5 people and have more space for baggage.

First Class cars are for those who have a higher budget or none at all. The traveller who wants to travel in complete luxury and arrive at their destination in an admirable style. These can fit a maximum of 3 people.

I will definitely be considering Blacklane in the future. I would rather know that my car is booked in advance and will be there on time to pick me up and drop me off to my destination. Sometimes, it's worth travelling around cities in style.

Disclaimer: In collaboration with Blacklane. All words are my own.
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10/05/2017

LILY'S KITCHEN ORGANIC CAT FOOD


I often work with different pet brands and love discovering ones that are really worth talking about. Lily's Kitchen is a brand I had heard of, but had never checked out. There are hundreds of different pet brands out there, so it can be quite overwhelming. However, Lily's Kitchen is wonderful and a brand I fully support. 

I consider both my cat and dog my babies and would only ever feed them the best food and treats possible. Rubbish food isn't any good for humans, so why would you not feed good quality food to your pets too?


Lily's Kitchen offers food and treats for both cats and dogs, so you can imagine how spoilt my two are! They only use certified organic meat in their food trays, so you can guarantee that your fur-baby is eating the best possible food they could have. There are no chemical additives, colours or flavour enhancers, which is a real bonus when the majority of pet food brands out there add anything and everything to try and make tasty foods. 

This time around, Lily's Kitchen sent over some goodies for my adopted cat, Albert. He has featured before on my blog and he's still here... meowing endlessly.

Albert has a VERY big stomach and could easily eat 5 meals a day if you gave him the chance! We have speculation that he wanders the streets and gets more meals from people during the day, but cats are very indeed very uncontrollable in that matter. 


We feed Albert twice a day (sometimes three), which includes two meals and a few treats during the day. We feed him on cat food pouches (either branded or supermarket own which are just as good), which he is crazy for. However, Lily's Kitchen spoilt him with a few bags of treats and some trays of organic meat in different flavours.

Albert's favourite food tray was Poultry Pie; which literally sounds and smells as delicious as you could imagine. Made with salmon, turkey and duck; it's grain free and packed tightly and smoothly in its tray, ready for little whiskers to tuck in. 


Albert thoroughly enjoyed Poultry Pie and all of the other trays. His other favourites included Lovely Lamb Casserole and Organic Fish. In fact, it was quite hard to get any still shots of him enjoying his banquet, because he was very hyperactive and eager to tuck into his food in peace. You can't blame him though. I wouldn't want a camera shoved in my face whilst trying to slurp my spaghetti. 


He really enjoyed his bags of treats too, so would definitely recommend those. Again, they contain no preservatives or any of that 'bad stuff', which means no hyperactive cat running around with lots of energy! 

We took them out the bags and put them into his treats tin... which as you can imagine, has a particular sound which he can hear from ten miles away!

Albert LOVES Lily's Kitchen and would fully recommend any other cats to try out the treat bags and food trays. We are very happy about the quality of food we have fed him and would urge you to check their full range of products out if you're looking for a healthy quality. 

Disclaimer: This post includes PR samples. All words and photographs are my own.
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07/05/2017

LAS IGUANAS, CHELMSFORD


Unless you have been living under a rock like myself, you will have probably eaten at Las Iguanas before. Despite loving Mexican and South American food, I had never been to a Las Iguanas before. I absolutely love trying new restaurants (incase you haven't guessed already), so I was really excited about this review. 

I live on the border lines of London meets Essex, so I am lucky in the fact that I can be in Central London in 35 minutes or sitting in the pub that's featured in TOWIE in around the same time. This time, we drove to the Las Iguanas restaurant in Chelmsford, Essex. It gave us a fantastic opportunity to explore the area; including the shopping centre which has a mix of popular high street stores and small, independent boutiques. 


We managed to find a space in the car park which is right next to some of the restaurants, so it's very convenient if you are driving to Chelmsford. The restaurant is located inside the same building as the Everyman Cinema; which is handy if you are going to watch a film too. 


The one thing I absolutely loved about this branch is the decor. It was very cosy and very modern in its furnishings, which made for some Instagram worth content! The bar is located in the middle of the restaurant with bar stools - perfect if you're on a date and grabbing a drink before sitting down for dinner!


I have no idea why I had never been to Las Iguanas before, as we was told something very exciting when Waiter 1 seated us at the table. They offer 2-for-1 on cocktails, ALL DAY, EVERYDAY. Perfect for me and my mum as we LOVE cocktails! Unfortunately though, mum was driving so it was mocktails for her!

I ordered the Mango Collins cocktail, with Absolut Mango Vodka, triple sec, orange, mango and lemonade. If I could be a cocktail, this is what I would be. Mango is my favourite fruit, so this cocktail was rather dangerous as it just tasted like juice! 


I was surprised to see the diverse amount of food that Las Iguanas have on offer. I have never tried Brazilian food before, but there's a few dishes available. To be honest, the menu is very overwhelming and something you should probably study prior so you get a good feel of everything that is on the menu.


They have quite a lot of vegetarian food on offer which is amazing. I'm not vegetarian but I think I have told you before that I do sometimes order meat-free options as I genuinely prefer the taste sometimes! It also means it's a great restaurant option to take any vegetarian friends or family that I have. 


After taking what seemed ages to have a look at the menu, we finally came to our decisions on what to order when Waiter 2 came over.  

For starters, we ordered a few different starter dishes and shared them. It wouldn't be a true light starter in my opinion without some tortilla chips and fresh guacamole. I don't think I have ever had this dish and been unsatisfied, so this one ticked the box. 

We also ordered Dadinhos; Brazilian crispy, cheesy cubes with a sticky chilli jam to dip them in. These hit the spot very well and I would really recommend them if you love CHEESE.


Being the piggies that we are, we also got to try Albondigos; Pantagonian-style lamb meatballs, with apple, mint, a pinch of nutmeg and Parmasan cheese. Mixed in a rich tomato and mint sauce, these meatballs were definitely something else. Again, another one I fully recommend. 


By the time we had finished with our starters, Waiter 3 took our plates away and asked if we was ready for dessert. It was quite embarrassing to then have to explain that these were our starters, but he apologised. It becomes quite a pattern throughout this review, but I think we simply had too many waiters serving us, so communication between all 3 wasn't very good, but is something they can definitely learn from. 

For main, I thought I would push the boat out and order something Brazilian. I went for Bahian Coconut Chicken. Pan fried chicken strips, cooked in a creamy, coconut sauce and accompanied with spring onion white rice and shredded greens. It was actually really nice and wasn't too heavy. I do love a good curry, so this was a good choice for me.


Sticking to the curry theme, my mum ordered Moqueca de Peixe; a fish and coconut curry. It had a mix of peeled prawns, white fish and peppers; served in a separate wooden bowl, white spring onion rice and fried plantain and coconut to sprinkle. She said it was beautiful and definitely recommends it to anyone who likes fish curry. Not something I would personally try, but it did smell delightful!


In all honesty, we were now left feeling very stuffed to the brim but I have a terrible case of dessert FOMO (fear of missing out), so we was easily persuaded to order something. 


After much deliberation of what to order, I went for Dulce de Leche Macadamia Cheesecake. I've said it before and I will say it again; cheese cake is my #1 love, so this went down well. I'm actually a huge fan of macadamia nuts (especially in a dried fruit mix!), and this was coated in a sticky caramel sauce. Yum!


My mum on the other ordered the Aztec Chocolate Fudge Cake. It had a fun little spin on things though, as the sponge was spiced orange and coated in a thick, rich chocolate sauce. Finally, with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream; it was definitely the naughtiest treat.

We was both very impressed with the food quality at Las Iguanas and we will no doubt return for another meal in the future. I think the service was great, but it would be better to be served by just the 1 or 2 waiters, rather than 3 to prevent mistakes from happening. Any restaurant can benefit from that tip!

Disclaimer: A complimentary meal for 2 was provided in exchange for an honest review on my blog. All photographs and opinions are my own.
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