I partnered up with giffgaff to get some old fashioned offline times, which is getting harder and harder to get in this digital world of ours. To be honest, it is almost like a challenge nowadays.
Having a little weird family away from my family is wonderful, but the fact we mainly socialise (maybe a little bit too much) by going out means we sometimes we can lack in real connection in down time.
So I had no excuses, giffgaff kitted me out with online tools – their awesome sim cards were used (and abused) to organise our night in, map journeys from work, order some food and cabs home; a power bank to make sure we managed to do that; camera to capture the moment (even though my friends were, surprisingly camera shy that day) and some super fun offline gift: board games.
One evening after work we chose, in between courses, glasses of wine and chats about our upcoming nights out, to play Weird Things Humans Search For and Bucket of Doom, which was the most fun – the stories started shy but quickly escalated.
We picked the phone less. We laughed more (only marginally, we are usually hilarious anyway), we were present.
After a evening of good food, friends and crying-with-laughter fun, I went to bed with my belly and heart full, thinking how lucky I am to have these weirdos around me.
Resolution: do this at least once a month. And get that missing one in the group to come next time!
I also very surprised to find out how much flexibility giffgaff gives when choosing how to use your mobile.
Makeup is, and has been, from a young age, a staple is my life. When I was younger, I got many comments saying I was “not natural” , was “hiding” or whatever.
The good news is that makeup has evolved and it is easier to find products that will give you coverage that is natural, accentuating your beauty and skin.
I was very excited to try EX1 as they are the first makeup brand developed exclusively for olive skin tones, which is mine.
That might explain that, so long ago, when foundation shades were very limited, why I may have looked a bit off – friendly ghost or a bit pink.
The EX1 Invisiwear Liquid Foundation (£12.50) is light in texture with a medium coverage, which is relatively buildable.
Their colour matching tool on the site is amazing – I used to find my shade, based on known brands colours, and it matches perfectly. Finish is very natural, not matte or with a sheen.
I finish it with their loose powder, which is in fact a foundation, in the oilier areas. The Pure Crushed Mineral Foundation (£13) powder is also great to use over SPF or a good day moisturiser, offering a very decent and even light coverage.
Finally, the Blusher in Peach (£9.50) is just my shade: super pigmented and blendable, with minimal dropping, it sits pretty on the cheeks for that healthy colour flush.
EX1 Cosmetics products feature a completely unique blend of olive tones ranging from very fair to deep tan, and are designed to seamlessly micro match olive skin tones or for those who just want to make their skin glow.
It’s parabens and cruelty free and was awarded the Best Breakthrough Brand 2019 by Superdrug at the Annual Superdrug Conference 2019.
You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples as products were GIFTED, with no obligation to post. This review, however, is based on my experience and reflects my honest opinion.
Covent Garden is a place close to my heart – one of my first jobs in London was walking distance from it, so many a lunch times were spent there.
And while is has all the tradition, it also has modern and luxurious options. Visiting London? A Covent Garden hotel is the perfect base to explore the area and the capital.
Theatres? It’s got it. Walking distance to many city landmarks? Check. Many restaurants, catering for all tastes and budgets? You bet!
What about cocktails? Covent Garden is a lovely place to go for drinks and some foods after work. Many places have great happy offers on drinks!
We picked the new SushiSamba, there for just a year, with a beautiful decor to match their flamboyant cuisine.
It is located at the top of the old market, with views that allow you to take in the historical surrounds of the market.
Because you are in the heart of theatreland, most restaurants will offer a fixed price menu at a pre-show time, usually until 6:30. And that was the case there too, for my surprise.
For £28 per person you get 3 courses to taste their menu – it’s great for an express lunch too, which gives you the chance to sample their Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian fusion cuisine.
I had ceviche, salmon sushi and a delightful banana cake for desert. Move to the bar after dinner, for some cocktails amongst their lush rainforest decor.
In lovely surroundings, taste cocktails, nibble on some great food and let the conversation flow. And that’s not just at this place – options are aplenty!
The atmosphere in Covent Garden is fantastic, and there are so many bars, clubs, restaurants, performances and shops to keep you amused for days, to suit all tastes and budgets.
Sip some tea with delicious macaroons at Ladurèe; grab a pint at the famous Punch & Judy pub; have some martinis at Dirty Martini, head off for some dinner at The Ivy, soak up the atmosphere of the piazza watching the street performances.
The possibilities are endless. Lucky you of you’re staying in the area.
And you can shop to your hearts content – from well know brands to small independent retailers and market stalls, you’re sure to find gifts for everyone you need to buy.
Worth noting that the festive season around Covent harden is magical. At the moment they have an autumnal display but the Christmas decor is already making its way into the pavilion – Apple Market already has the beautiful giant baubles, mistletoes and disco balls being set!
Covent Garden has so much to offer – even after 17 years in London, at every visit, I discover a new corner.
This post was created in collaboration with Hotels.com. The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.
Summer. Suddenly you’re gone. You’re my favourite time of the year, but in London, that dies not equal tan.
The struggle, for bronzed pins is real, and even more so when the brief summer leaves us.
Enter the wonderful Skinny Tan Wonder Serum. Its formula is a dark pearlescent jelly fluid which is easy to apply evenly and dries very quickly, giving skin an instant make over, so you’re ready to go while the tanning agents work.
Left overnight it develops into a gorgeous deep gold tone which lasts for a good 3-5 days.
It contains caffeine, aloe vera, vitamin E, guarana to care for the skin. 96% of its ingredients are natural and Skinny Tan is always paraben & sulphate free, as well as vegan friendly and cruelty free.
I used their fab Dual Tanning Mitt (£5.99) in pink velvet, which makes application even and super smooth on the skin.
Very quickly it turned into my go-to tanning product.
To complete my tanning routing, line I’ve been using their brand new Rainbow moisturising range, which consists Cleansing Moisture Wash, which a tan primer and maintaining body wash, Moisture Hit Body Lotion, a gorgeous tan maintainer super moisturiser and the rich Melting Moisture body balm which is a treat for elbows and knees especially. They costs £9.95 each.
They helps prepare the skin prior to tanning and also afterwards, as some products containing sulphites make tan fade faster. ingredients include cocoa butter, coconut oil, raspberry oil, guarana, she butter and aloe vera, for moisturisation, a hit of antioxidants and skin awakening. Plus, they smell absolutely delicious!
You can get the Skinny Tan Wonder Serum on their website – it costs £29.99 and it’s such a hit that often sells out. Skinny Tan has a great range of other tanning products and accessories.
They also have amazing bundles available on the site and currently Boots has a “buy 1 get 2nd half price” on Skinny Tan products so a great change to stock up!
You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains a PR sample as this product was GIFTED, with no obligation to post. This review, however, is based on my experience and reflects my honest opinion.
Do you ever, like me, go into TK MAXX and feel like a kid in a sweet shop, not knowing where to look?
That happens in most locations, but I always managed to find what I need: be my most convenient, London Stratford or my closest to work, Bank, but their new Oxford Street location just took that feeling to a whole new level, where big brands at small prices are spread across four floors.
Modern, spacious, organised, friendly and full of cute corners, with a killer stock!
You can find their usual accessories, beauty, shoes, women, children, toys and men sections, together with the coveted Gold Label, jewellery and also Pre-Loved, a small super luxury section where you can find big ticket second hand designer accessories.
Think original dream handbags, procured and authenticated. How great is that?
The beauty section is always fun for me – so many fabulous brands I love and worked with in the past and you can truly find some gems.
It is also a great place to discover new brands and products!
Now, the home section has my heart – so much that at my visit to the new shop I ended up getting most of my little visit haul from there, including a set of four beautiful iridescent glasses for £7.99 and a 15oz candle for the same price.
Where can you find great glassware at such good price? Cushions as fas as the eye can see? Towels so soft and so affordable? Kitchen utensils staples but also some you didn’t even know you needed?
Candles, for example, I will never pay through my nose for that again; they have so may options of excellent quality!
Not going to lie, I got this very seasonal Sea Salt Pumpkin (yum) there the last time, but I have at least two of the same brand, with more classic fragrances I like for my home, purchased a while back, stocked up and ready to go.
And the shoes? Have you ever paid attention to the calibre of the designers at the Gold Label section? It is INSANE. And the savings you get?
Add that to the rows and rows of the non- gold label footwear at even better value.
Talking about Gold Label, the same goes for clothes. Some gorgeous stock going.
I went a bit more modest and got this fabulous pink coat at a very affordable £39.99 that is going to see me through the autumn very well. I love a pop of colour, especially in the colder months where everything is so grey!
I have, apart from the goodies I got in this shopping trip, many a gems from TK MAXX.
My kitchen is full of amazing accessories from known brands which were purchased there for a fraction of the price.
Who remembers my gorgeous silver holographic glitter boots that look a million dollars but was purchased for £17 a few months back?
And who hasn’t got the heartache of not having bought something, just to go back a few days later to get it and not find? A black leather handbag, circa 2010, Clapham. My heart.
TK MAXX works with many designer brands – big and small – and are always procuring the latest in fashion.
You may think most of it stock is past season, but the vast majority comes from current season overproduced, overbuys from stores, and some especially manufactured stock for TK MAXX which negotiates volume and good prices, which are passed on to us, consumers!
Great for the pocket and also a good chance for surplus stock to actually get sold and used. Oh, and it does not hurt they look sooooo good!
Oh, and they have plenty of Halloween stuff at the moment!
TK MAXX has many stores across the UK, Europe and Australia – so easy to find one near you. Visit the new one at 203-207 Oxford Street, just a few minutes from the tube station.
Oh, and don’t forget they also put some of their stock online, so visit their website – you can use gift cards and even click and collect at the shop!
Please note that this was a PR offered opportunity. I was invited to visit their new shop and given a gift card to buy some tempting items, but the above is based on my experience on the day and general, asa customer, with TK MAXX.
My first electric toothbrush was purchased less than a year ago but I feel like I will never be able to live without it. In fact, how did I?
When Oral-B invited me to the launch of their new brush, I was dead excited and thought: can this get any better? Spoiler: yes, it can.
The Genius X 20000 relies on AI to help you achieve the best brushing possible.
AI? Really? Yes. Using artificial intelligence means that your brush learnt from thousands of brushing styles and it can map where exactly you are brushing, if you brushed enough and if you are putting too much pressure on your teeth.
As research shows, 80% of people do miss some areas when brushing, so Genius X makes sure you get in every bit and helps you improve.
The brush looks amazing and I went for the sleek shiny black which looks fabulous in my bathroom. The light ring can be customised in many colours and all Oral B heads will fit – of course a shiny black Crossaction one will look better on mine.
It has six cleaning modes: normal, deep clean, sensitive, whitening, massage and tongue, as well as a battery life of up to two weeks and gum pressure control.
Linked up to the app, you can see exactly where and how you’re brushing, and progress is tracked. The brush stores up to 30 sessions if you cannot use the app, and it’ll sync once you connect via Bluetooth.
On top of that, the app offers tips, reminders and different programmes to improve your oral hygiene, such as tongue brushing, flossing and rinsing prompts, and whitening, fresher breath and gum health settings you can follow for a number of weeks – all customisable.
Sometimes the app does not record if you change the setting at the and of the brushing (as I do to brush my tongue) and occasionally starts mapping a different part from that you’re brushing, but overall it works great and I find a great aid in actually getting the right time and thorough brushing.
Plus, it gives that amazingly squeaky clean feeling after! I am 100% sold and won’t, more than ever, look back.
It also comes in a pretty rose gold colour and costs from £169.98 and it comes with a gorgeous rechargeable travel case (which doubles up as a power bank I hear).
You can get all the info on the Genius X at the Oral B website, where you can also see which retailers nationwide you can buy from, including Amazon and Boots.
You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains a PR sample as this product was GIFTED, with no obligation to post. This review, however, is based on my experience and reflects my honest opinion.
The Gingerline has a new dining adventure in east London: Chambers_ where you are taken through the multiverse exploring different flavours and sometimes working for your dinner.
Think art, performance, problem solving, a little bit of competition, story-telling, all sprinkled with yummy food and a whole lot of fun taking place in the multiverse – multiple rooms where a different, often outrageous reality awaits, together with a different dish.
A few hours before you start, you get a message with instructions on how to get to their secret HQ in Hoxton. And the menu is also a secret, unveiled as you explore it on the day.
You get a welcome drink, the 5 courses during your exploration. They also have an extensive drinks menu, some of which can be taken on the journey.
Overall, I found the food really good – it is developed by Flavourlogy, and I was pleasantly surprised at the tastes presented, and how good they are catering for dietary needs.
Drinks are affordable (their house wine is less than £20 a bottle) and there are some interesting cocktails (from £8) on the menu, such as the Cartographer’s Courage and the Transportal, which can be ordered in multiple portions to carry through your little trip.
The experience itself last about 2 hour and is delightful: the cast is really lovely and the journey is interactive: we were part of the story being told.
At the end, you have the chance to spend sometime at a very Instagrammable bar, where drinks, from a different menu, are plenty.
Be quick, they do sell out – their reputation precedes them and I can confirm they live up to it! You don’t want to be locked out of the multiverse, do you?
You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains a PR sample as this experience was GIFTED, with no obligation to post. This review, however, is based on my experience and reflects my honest opinion.
Chocolate. We all know how great it is. For me, the darkest, the better. But what about chocolate in beauty? Skincare almost good enough to eat, that turns the goodness of cocoa into amazing beauty products?
That’s Rabot 1745Beauty, which is part of Hotel Chocolat. The mix of discovering a new beauty brand with such an amazing connection to a luxury food brand is too exciting for me to contain myself!
In fact, Rabot is the name of the estate in St. Lucia where Hotel Chocolat’s sustainable cocoa is grown and is not only inspired by the cacao itself but also the love for St. Lucia, its people and plants – always harnessing the properties of their high quality natural ingredients and the craft that goes into their products.
It is a beautiful story which bears gorgeous fruits. I was lucky enough to try a great selection of their range and can tell there isn’t one single thing that I do not like.
My favourite? Probably the stunning Cacao & Almond Bath and Body Oil (£18, 200ml). Cocoa seed oil is the hero throughout the range and of course, present here, blended with sweet almond oil to provide vitamins and fatty acids for great hydration.
I have been applying to damp skin after my shower and my skin has been super smooth, most times does not need extra moisturisers. The smell? Divine. It absorbs quickly and has a long lasting effect.
Then, a tough choice between two, but going for the lip butters (£8, 10ml): I have the Coconut Chocolat lip balm, with cocoa seed butter, shea butter and abyssinian seed oil and the Fruited Chocolat lip balm with cacao butter, almond oil, cacao butter and rosemary leaf extract.
They are a little delight in smell and taste, and do their job to keep lips moisturised. It comes in 7 different varieties with yummy ingredients mixes.
Not a secret I am a massive fan of body scrubs and of course I had to try one of them. Mine is the new Salt & LemongrassBody Scrub (£16, 280ml) and it smells so fresh.
It could have a little more grit to it, but overall, this rich salt, lemongrass oil, sweet almond oil and cocoa seed butter scrub does a great job in exfoliating and also leaving skin soft and deeply moisturised. It comes in 3 other varieties (with a coffee and a sugar base) and is a best seller!
Plus, it comes in a reusable cup that , once you finish the scrub, you can clean and take to any Hotel Chocolat shop in the UK for 50p off your hot drink or a free one at the Rabot 1745 restaurant in Borough Market (London). How amazing is that?
And that’s not all; as a fan of scrubs, I am also loving the Avocado & Sour Orange hand scrub (£9.95, 60ml) which leaves hands so soft and ready so soak in the moisturiser.
Plus their Avocado & Lime Smile Reviver (£9.95, 30ml), a lip scrub with avocado oil, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin A, D, and E, gently exfoliates to leave lips soft and well, more kissable, perhaps!
Also, have you noticed how affordable the products are? Amazing value for money and great for gifting.
This is just a tiny sample of their beautiful range, which you can get the Rabot 1745 website and at Hotel Chocolat shops.
You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples and the product was GIFTED, with no obligation to post. This review, however, is based on my experience with the products and reflects my honest opinion on them.
A product that is called Flawless PhotoGlow and has a SPF30+? I am already sold.
And it lived up to its name: the Transformulas Flawless PhotoGlow moisturiser has a revolutionary skin drone technology (yes, you heard it right) which delivers the right active ingredients to the cells that need it.
It helps restore sking glow and radiance, as well as helping improve skin tone and pigmentation.
I am not gonna mince my words: I am in love with this product. It is an effective day moisturiser with a solid UVA/UVB SPF, fells super light and behaves well under makeup, really delivering on the glow/radiance/luminosity claims.
I’ve been using it daily for over a month and my skin loves it. I usually suffer from photosensitive pigmentation in the summer and this has been minimum so far – I attribute it to the consistent SPF use and the formula here.
My skin has been much clearer and hydrated, despite using some acne fighting products.
It contains a lot of tech ingredients like Illumisan (for pigmentation), Suncat MTA (pollution and sun protection), X50 PhotoGlow (the cosmetic drone I mentioned above), squalane (hydration) and LPD Multivitamin (antioxidants and vitamins A,C, D and F) to support delivery of all claims.
Honestly, a gem, definitely worth the £55 price tag (50ml). I am so sold, and dreading the end of he tube.
You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains a PR samples and this product was GIFTED, with no obligation to post. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on it.
At night, your skin heals. Our bodies pretty much rest themselves – that’s why sleeping well is essential for good health.
Temple Spa is giving an extra helping hand with the Repose Aromatherapy Relaxing night cream, not only with a fabulous face cream that contains natural plant extracts and anti-oxidants to supporting that overnight replenishing process, but also a fusion of relaxing essential oils to help us achieve a good night’s sleep.
The cream has a great, cashmere consistency and is absorbed quickly by the skin. In the morning, skin feel supple and plump. I love that this night cream is not too rich, as my skin tends to get congested after wearing those.
And when I wake up and wash my face, there are no traces of my skincare, a sign my skin really took it all in.
Now, the smell is soothing and calming and great to put your head on the pillow with, thanks to a gorgeous blend of hops, valerian, chamomile, frankincense, lavender, patchouli, geranium, bitter orange and clary essential oils which have a reputation to aid deep relaxation and bring a sense of calm, as well as a great moisturisation.
It is suitable or all skin types and does help fight fine lines and wrinkles – it really helps settles the skin.
Temple Spa is a lovely British skincare brand founded by people who had years of experience creating business and products for others, and decide to create their own. They are stocked in Harrods and you can also find them in many spas around the UK, with amazing treatments.
You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains a PR samples and this product was GIFTED. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on it.