Monday, 29 April 2019

HOME | ROSE GOLD GEOMETRIC WALL

I've not done a house update in far too long because decorating your first house turned out to be a much more expensive job than I first thought. Accessories don't just magic out of thin air and as much as you'd love every room to be perfect as soon as you move in, it just doesn't work out that way. You may have heard that it's not a good idea to paint or wallpaper new build homes for at least 6 months due to settlement cracks appearing - and some beauties have appeared in my house! I'm now a year and a bit down the line though and everything seems to have settled so I decided to add some colour to my living room.

Because this is my first house and I've bought it alone I thought what better time to have some pink decor without anyone being able to disagree with me?! I searched Pinterest for some home inspiration and decided that I wanted to stick with some sort of geometric wall (if you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that geometric decor is a huge love of mine). My options were to use Frog Tape and paint which did look quite simple but I realised that I'd only be able to have white lines separating each shape - and I am also partial to some copper/rose gold so after scouring the B&Q website, I finally came across the most perfect rose gold metallic geometric wallpaper.


My friend Hannah pointed out on Instagram that this definitely has similarities to the 'Purple Wall' at Epcot (search #purplewall on Instagram if you don't know what I mean) which makes me extremely happy because I'm a huge Disney lover and I'm always up for incorporating some Disney into my house! I personally think it looks perfect with the bargain curtains I got from Home Bargains (only £34.99 for 90x90!) and the TV unit from Ikea.

I'm so pleased with how my house is coming on, it's slow but it's mine and I'll always be so proud of what I've achieved!

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Friday, 26 April 2019

BEAUTY | SKINNY TAN WONDER SERUM REVIEW WITH BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS

If you've known me for a while now, you'll know that I'm hardly a beauty queen - my skincare routine is questionable, I don't tend to my eyebrows anywhere near as often as I should and it has to be a special occasion for me to wear lipstick. But one thing I do know is that life is definitely better with a tan.

I usually go to the professionals for a spray tan to fulfil my tanning needs but when Skinny Tan asked if I wanted to try their new Wonder Serum I decided to go for it because I'd heard such good things about it. Admittedly I was a little bit nervous applying it because I know that I'm not exactly experienced in self-tanning and I worried that I was going to end up patchy and streaky. Luckily, along with the serum, I was also sent an exfoliating mitt and a tanning mitt which did make the process a heck of a lot easier.


The exfoliating mitt is double sided; the orange side for prepping the skin before application and the brown side is to remove or correct your tan which is especially helpful if you're a little bit out of practice. The dual tanning mitt is honestly the best quality tanning mitt I've ever used; it's silky smooth, thick and durable  whereas other mitts I've used have split within a couple of uses. The Skinny Tan mitt makes application much, much easier. 

The serum itself is a formula I've never come across before; other tans I've used have been in lotions, mousses and sprays so I was really intrigued as to how this one worked. The serum formula, coupled with the tanning mitt, made it so easy to spread the product evenly across my skin and it was so easy to buff in with no worries about it streaking or developing patchy. And it actually has an iridescent finish to it and leaves your skin feeling soft and silky after you've applied. I did read that this is supposed to smell better than other fake tans but honestly once it started developing I didn't get any scent other than the tell-tale biscuit scent that you get with most self-tanners. I don't find it particularly bad but I wouldn't say it smells any better than other self-tanning products.

Now for the before and after pictures; I am naturally quite pale and I don't tan very well in the sun so as you can imagine my legs, without tan, are blindingly pasty:

BEFORE SKINNY TAN WONDER SERUM

AFTER SKINNY TAN WONDER SERUM

I'm really impressed with the results. Skinny Tan Wonder Serum gave me a really flawless, soft finish and has meant that I'll be much more confident wearing a summer dress when some of the better weather is here to stay. I generally do feel so much better with a bit of a tan; it makes me much more body confident. I posted a photo to my stories of me applying some new moisturiser to my legs and I was pleased to see that people noticed my tan and asked what I'd used! I do need to perfect my tanning skills because I've not quite got the knack of tanning my feet without it looking weird but I'll be having a look at some YouTube tutorials to help but if you have any tips please send them my way!

You can buy Skinny Tan products from their website as well as Boots and Superdrug.

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LIFESTYLE | DUMBO AT VUE CINEMA DONCASTER

GIFTED EXPERIENCE: I was kindly asked to write up my experience at Vue Doncaster in exchange for two complimentary tickets to see Dumbo 

After living somewhere where there isn't a cinema within a 20 mile radius, I feel really lucky to have things like this right on my doorstep now. Kev and I used to use the cinema a LOT more when we first started seeing each other; as you do - the cinema is a typical date type destination isn't it? But we'd not been for a while so it was nice to get out on a week night to do something a little bit different.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that the cinema is still an expensive night out but Vue Doncaster have actually now restructured their pricing so that for a regular seat any time, any day of the week it's only £5.49 and it's even cheaper at £4.99 if you book your cinema tickets in advance. This is obviously to drag you away from at-home streaming services which were becoming the more favoured way to watch films. However, for me, the beauty of a cinema visit is that it feels like a treat but rather than it breaking the bank it's now much more affordable (and even more so if you are also signed up to things like Meerkat Movies where you get tickets buy one, get one free). 


I'm sure if you live in Doncaster you'll know that Vue Cinema is near Lakeside and the big Asda off Bawtry Road and you may also be aware that there's loads of new eating places opening just opposite the cinema so now not only do we have Pizza Express, Nando's, Frankie and Benny's and Brewer's Fayre, we're also getting a Taco Bell, Dunkin' Donuts, TGI Friday's, Urban Fresh Burgers and Fries and Estabulo so there'll be plenty to choose from if you like to eat before/after your film.


There are of course snacks available to buy in the cinema which are pretty unmissable as you walk in as you're hit by a huge Ben & Jerry's sign, pick n' mix and the smell of popcorn and nachos which makes it really difficult to resist. I always find that Doncaster Vue is fully staffed so there's never an issue in getting served; even as it was very busy with the release of the new Avengers film there were no huge queues which makes the whole experience so much more relaxing. The one thing I can't resist when I go to the cinema is a mixed Tango Ice Blast and I can never say no to going large (for the marginal difference in price I figure I might as well!).



Once we'd picked up our tickets, we sat down to enjoy the film; we had regular seats but there is an option to upgrade to the VIP seats which are bigger and comfier.

I have to say that Dumbo disappointed me a little bit, I realise I probably had high hopes after the last live action Disney I saw was Beauty and the Beast (where I was an emotional mess throughout) but it was just very underwhelming. Dumbo was cute and there were some excellent visual effects but I just wouldn't rate it unfortunately. I am, however, very much looking forward to seeing the Lion King in July and I fully expect to be an emotional wreck during that!

What's your favourite part of going to the cinema?

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Tuesday, 16 April 2019

FOOD | BYRON BURGER, YORK

I'm no stranger to a good burger and I like to think that I can make a pretty reasoned judgement as to whether a burger is decent; to be honest the moment that any burger serving establishment says something like 'is medium ok for your burger, slightly pink?' you know it's probably going to be good (this is because if it's a frozen, or less meaty burger they'd not be able to serve anything pink - it'd just be grey or nothing.)

We visited Byron Burger in York the other day; I've been before but Kev hasn't and I wanted him to experience it as I really enjoyed the one I had in London (and I had my fingers crossed that they wouldn't disappoint). I'll be honest and say that on first impressions of the interior it's potentially not great; where we were sat near the back the booth seating looked like it had seen better days but I do also think that it's possibly part of the Byron branding - to be more hipster, cool and industrial rather than refined and sophisticated... it is a burger joint after all.

byron-burger-york

byron-burger-york

byron-burger-menu

byron-burger-york

We went in at around 12pm and it quickly started to fill up with customers which is obviously a tell-tale sign of their popularity. As you can probably see from the menu, Byron concentrate on burgers but they do offer beef, chicken or vegan options plus a selection of upgrades to your fries which is something I do like to see on a menu just to be able to switch normal fries for something a bit more exciting.

Both me and Kev went for a B-Rex burger which is a beef patty, an onion ring, bacon, American cheese, jalapeños, pickles, onions, BBQ sauce and mayonnaise. We decided against the jalapeños because neither of us are particularly fond of hot food and although I don't mind jalapeños on nachos, that's about the limit of when I'll eat them. I also changed my normal fries for courgette fries which, if you haven't tried them, are an absolute must I think! I was very tempted to add cheese sauce onto normal fries but courgette fries win every time for me (they're actually one of the main reasons why I like Byron Burger).

b-rex-burger

b-rex-burger

courgette-fries

byron-burger-fries

Both burgers are obviously photographed before we started eating them and I can confirm that they got a whole lot messier than that, which is another sign of a good burger in my book! They were incredibly juicy and the extra toppings were the perfect combination to make a really, really tasty burger. I particularly enjoy courgette fries; they did leave a little bit of grease in the bottom of the pot but I can deal with that seeing as they didn't taste greasy at all!

I can highly recommend Byron if you're partial to a good burger; the only slightly downside to anyone living up north is that they only have 4 branches north of Birmingham; the one in York, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool but it's well worth a visit if you're in any one of those cities.

Other amazing burger places up north include Urban Fresh Burgers (Doncaster), Meat Liquor (Leeds) and the Prince of Wales (Sheffield)

Where's your favourite place for a burger?

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Friday, 5 April 2019

FOOD | URBAN FRESH BURGERS AND FRIES, DONCASTER

Decent fast food style burger chains are still few and far between in my opinion and you'd be forgiven for thinking that all fast food burgers are of similar quality to McDonald's but there's been a huge game changer that's arrived in Doncaster recently and I can't believe I've only just discovered it.

Urban Fresh Burgers and Fries arrived down Wheatley Hall Road in Doncaster offering beef and chicken burgers as well as veggie options served with fries cooked in peanut oil (drooling face emoji). If you're from Doncaster or within driving distance, treat this blog post as a public service announcement - this is the quality of Five Guys but at a fraction of the price. 

A 'regular' burger is actually 2 'patties', with small being just the one. I went for a cheeseburger and Kev went for a bacon cheeseburger 'The Urban Way' which has lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, pickles, mayo, ketchup and mustard. You can, of course, choose your own toppings from a huge list available on the board but The Urban Way is the only way for me. 

Considering these are fresh, premium quality burgers, the prices are so reasonable at £4.95 for a 2 patty cheese burger, the peanut oil fries are £1.95 for a regular portion (which is huge as you'll see further down) and the drinks are £2.95 (which may seem a little steep but they are refillable with a choice of 100+ drinks!). You can have a look at the full menu to find their chicken and veggie options.




Preparing food in front of customers is a real winner for me - you see exactly what's happening with your burgers at each stage of making them and it shows how well and truly fresh everything is! The staff are amazingly efficient at what they do and even at busy times you know they're working as hard as they can to keep your wait time to a minimum.

The whole process from ordering to picking up your food is perfected at Urban, the slight wait gives you chance to decide which drink you're going to choose from the Coke Freestyle machine (the fact that there's one of these in Doncaster is a revelation for me, I'd come here just to use that because I love an extensive drinks choice!)

There's variations of all sorts of different drinks so make sure you set aside a few minutes to browse the endless possibilities (I'd recommend Peach Fanta; Emma from Emma Drew Info recommended it to me and I can wholeheartedly say it's amazing!). 

The burger is what I would describe as a 'dirty burger' and by that I mean that you are not going to come out with clean hands - it's every bit as juicy and amazing as a fresh 100% beef burger should be. The Urban Way toppings go together perfectly and the peanut oil fries are an absolute revelation - you'll never want normal fries ever again! 

To see some amazing photos of their burgers head over to the Urban Facebook page (I don't eat in so by the time I've got mine home the photo just doesn't do it justice at all and you have to believe me that these are the most amazing fast food burgers in Doncaster)! They have additional stores opening at the brand new Lakeside triangle later this year and also one at Rotherham Parkgate - trust me, you need to try this.

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Wednesday, 3 April 2019

HOME | HOW TO GET THE LUXE LOOK IN YOUR HOME

Collaborative post

From switching up your colour scheme to introducing statement furnishings, there are a whole host of simple ways to improve your living space and ensure it exudes class, style and sophistication. To help you get the luxe look in your home, here are some quick, easy and surprisingly effective changes that you could make. 

Choose furniture that stands out

You don’t have to completely rethink your furniture to enhance your home interior. By choosing a few new standout pieces, you could overhaul the look and feel of your rooms. For example, why not add an extravagant French-style bed to your boudoir? Perhaps a carved antique-look design made from solid wood would look the part in your bedroom, or maybe a luxuriously upholstered model with an opulent headboard would be a better fit. As the focal point of the room, this piece of furniture will set the tone for the entire space.

To give your lounge a dreamy, decadent feel, have you thought about adding a sumptuous chaise longue? These pieces are all about indulgence. Meanwhile, if you have space in your bathroom, a roll top bathtub could instantly elevate the appearance of this space and create a spa-like vibe.

The key is not to be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. To expand your home décor horizons and find pieces that really wow, it pays to browse home décor magazines and check out the options available on specialist websites such as crownfrenchfurniture.co.uk - and of course Pinterest always comes in handy too!

Supersize your accessories

Oversized accessories can give your rooms the designer look that you'll recognise from the glossy pages of home interior magazines. Something as simple as adding outsized mirrors to your walls can transform the appearance of rooms and make a bold, confident style statement. Go large with your artwork too. Hanging big prints can help to give your spaces a sense of purpose and personality. Geometric shapes and abstract designs work especially well when you’re going for the luxurious look.

Introduce statement lighting

Forget drab fabric ceiling lights. By swapping standard fittings for showstoppers like chandeliers and glass and crystal pendants, you can take your home design up a gear. Make sure you have lots of mood lighting options too. For example, you could add some plinth lights to the bottom of your kitchen cabinets to bathe the floor in a warm glow. Hanging large pendants over kitchen islands or dining tables is another way to up the sense of luxury when it comes to your interior design scheme.

Create feature walls

Don’t be tempted to over complicate your colour scheme. Simple is usually best when you’re trying to create a plush effect throughout your home - and neutrals like calming cream or crisp white can work especially well. But to give your rooms some added flair, you could create feature walls in bold hues such as deep purple, intense red, dark grey or forest green.

To take your feature walls a step further, why not use patterned and textured wallpaper? This tends to work especially well in accent areas such as alcoves or chimney breasts.

Use indulgent fabrics

To truly nail the opulent look, you have to pay attention to the finer details - and this includes making sure you use plenty of indulgent fabrics around your home. For example, you could embellish your bed or couch with cosy faux fur throws and place thick pile rugs on the floors in your lounge and bedroom. It’s also good to add detail to your chairs and sofas with beautifully coloured and textured cushions. Why not go for embroidered designs for that extra touch of sophistication and detail?

These changes don’t take much time or effort, and you might be surprised by how much they can transform your home.

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