Ultimate Winter Skin Perk Up

There are some things I love about winter: chunky knits, boots, berry lip shades; and there are some things I hate: cold feet, snoods (mainly just the word. I mean, snood. Really?!) and dull, tired skin. The cold feet and the snoods I can work around, and for my skin, lately I've been loving this:

So, this is L'Oreal's Skin Perfection Anti Fatigue Perk Up Cream. Bit of a mouthful, yeah? So let's just call it Glow In A (Cute Pink) Tube. I bought this on impulse in Superdrug, where it's currently on offer for £7.99 (rrp £11.99). Not gonna lie, I was drawn to the pink and orange ombre packaging, and that's basically the entire reason I bought it.

So, I was actually really pleasantly surprised when I tried this and found that it actually does give my skin a really nice glow. Not only that, but it's rich enough to nourish the drier bits of my pesky combo skin whilst not over-oiling my t-zone. I've also been using this as a make up base for the last few days to see how it fares, and although I've had to powder throughout the day I love that the radiant effect of the cream seems to work even under make up.

Worth buying?

Yup - you can't go wrong at this price (especially if you can grab it in Superdrug while it's on offer). If you're looking for a bit of extra glow in the mornings - and let's face it, who isn't? - this is for you. Go. GO!! And then buy the takeaway, because...well, you deserve it.

Breakfast at Knitsley Farm

I've been hearing great things about Knitsley Farm for what seems like years now, and for some reason never actually got around to trying it. So on Sunday morning, with nowhere to be and a craving for bacon (it's this problem I have), the Husband and I decided to head over for breakfast.

Did someone say bacon?
The farm is in the village of Knitsley, just south of Consett in County Durham. We arrived just after opening at 10am and the carpark was already starting to get busy which is a sign of how popular Knitsley Farm is. We also had a nice welcome from a hopeful looking beagle who was hovering outside the entrance door. Amongst various other awards, the farm has recently won the title of Butcher's Shop of the Year as well as the prestigious Taste of England Gold award. The actual cafe is quite small with only eleven tables which filled up within ten minutes of being there. The Husband declared he must try everything on the breakfast menu so went for a full English which was £8.95 and was HUGE. In addition to the plate full of bacon, sausage, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and black pudding, it also came with a rack of toast and orange juice.

Obviously I gave into my craving and ordered the slightly less photogenic bacon sandwich which consisted of three thick slices of bacon in a soft white bun- and it was amazing. I tried not to think too much of the (delicious, juicy) pigs on the farm as I ate. The Husband was equally impressed with his meal and had to admit defeat before finishing (which is unheard of usually). As the cafe was so busy I couldn't really take any photos of anything other than our plates, but once we'd finished (and freed up the table for one of the twenty or so people queuing outside), we wandered into the adjoining farm shop, which sells all of the farm's fresh produce as well as other local foods and confectionary, to pick up some fresh eggs, bread and a slice of what is possibly the most amazing vanilla cheesecake I've ever tasted to take home.

Before we could leave I had to have a stern conversation with a cockerel who'd made himself at home in front of my car in the carpark. He finally moved on, whilst complaining loudly, and this prompted me to wonder whether anyone has ever been attacked by a cock. I did a google search when I got home and the results were...well, best left off this blog, I think.

We'll be returning to Knitsley soon, apparently the Sunday lunches are amazing (although I am not a huge Sunday dinner fan, as I've mentioned previously). Considering how busy it gets, I'd imagine you definitely need to book, though.

Have you tried Knitsley Farm?

My Little Box - November

I was only just starting to get over the excitement of my October My Little Box when the mailroom at work informed me that a VERY, VERY, EXTREMELY IMPORTANT PACKAGE had arrived for me. (I often remind them that any packages that come for me are, obviously, ESSENTIAL and I need to be informed RIGHT AWAY. I'll stop with the capitals now.)

Turns out it was my November edition of My Little Box, and this month's theme is My Little Cosy Box. Who doesn't love cosy? Nobody, that's who. So I excitedly opened my parcel. The first thing I pulled out was this adorable polka dotted heat cushion. How cute! The idea of this is that you pop it in the microwave and use it to keep you snuggly on those cold winter nights whilst watching Tom Hardy movies And pretending the cushion is actually Tom Hardy. Now, I do like the idea of this, but in reality I'm not sure it's something I'll use. In fact, I'm pretty sure I already have one of these cushiony things somewhere in my house. Still, it's red, and polka dotted. I like it!

The next item in my cosy box is this adorable little coffee mug featuring original artwork by MLB's resident artiste Kanako. So cute, and perfect for espresso! If only I drank it. I'm a tea, tea and more tea kinda gal, but this mug is so cute that I'm sure I'll find a use for it elsewhere. Maybe to hold my makeup brushes?

Like last month, my box also contained a simple but chic drawstring pouch. This month's contained a black volume mascara by My Little Beauty, an Arcancil waterproof eye pencil and an Intense Colour Eye Shadow by Yves Rocher in the colour Brun Cafe Mat. I actually really like the pencil and the shadow, which can be used to create a simple smoky eye as shown in the copy of My Little World mag which is also in the box. I'm reserving judgement on the mascara as I've only briefly tried it so far.

So - another super cute offering from My Little Box. Not gonna lie, I don't love this like I loved my October box, but then, that was DVF themed, so it was never really going to live up to that, was it? The cushion and the mug will probably be relegated to my 'bought never to be seen again' drawer but the boxes arrive so exquisitely packaged that I'll be keeping my subscription going just to receive more pretty parcels.

Have you given in to My Little Box yet?

Gift Inspo - CandyRocks Winter Collection

It seems like statement jewellery is sticking around for a while, and this is GREAT news for me for a couple of reasons; firstly, I love a good ol' bit o' bling, and secondly, as I've mentioned before, I have a little sideline venture with a friend called CandyRocks Jewellery. We sell...errmm...statement jewellery. Sooo....

Yeah. There may be a slightly selfish reason for this post but in all honesty, I don't know many (female!) people who don't love a good statement piece. For that reason, they make the perfect Christmas gift!

When choosing pieces for our Winter Collection my fellow CandyRocks-er Andrea and I wanted to go for lots of sparkle, rich, jewel tones and pieces that would really pack a punch at the Christmas party. And of course, as always, we wanted to keep our prices low (this is mainly due to me being from the 'Oh, that's all? In which case I'll have two!' school of shopping.)

As with all things CandyRocks, styles are only ever available in very limited numbers so you won't see loads of people wearing the same piece. And if you do, chances are they paid WAY more than you did! We've spotted a few of our styles on the high street and in magazines at much higher prices than ours.

These are a few of our current pieces, although stock changes all the time. To order, message us via our facebook page - postage prices start at £1.30.

Feeling Festive at Bayberry Hollow

For a while now, people who know about my love of tea and cake have been asking me if I've visited Bayberry Hollow. Aside from cooing over the incredibly cute name, I'd been told that this little converted pub-come-gift-shop in Tanfield has a gorgeous tea room serving delicious cakes. SOLD!

Although Tanfield isn't too far from where I live, the Husband and I had a rather perilous drive through ridiculously thick fog to find the place on Saturday morning, as I wanted to get there as soon as it opened since I'd heard the tea room is incredibly popular. We got there in one piece so as I parked the car I'd already decided to reward myself with a huge slice of cake. Seems fair, right?

As I mentioned, Bayberry Hollow is also a gift shop, so we had a little mooch around this part first. I spotted around 100 things I loved and mentally tried to work out who I could give them all to for Christmas (I find this tactic lessens my usual shopping guilt). Since we are hurtling into the festive period now, the gift shop was full of cute decorative items including some amazing smelling candles in Christmassy scents like Cranberry Spice and Frankincense.

The building used to be a pub, so there are lots of alcoves and low beams which gives the place a really cosy feel (watch your head, though!). The tea room is at the back of the building up a small flight of stairs, and there is also a snug lounge area off to the right. Whilst exploring I also had a peek at the upstairs area which has recently been converted into the Bay Lounge where evening events including Tapas nights will be held. I love the idea of this so will definitely be checking it out!

Anyway, back to the important subject of food. The tea room counter was piled high with delicious looking scones and I was very tempted to go with one of those until I spotted the Victoria sponge. For some reason, I just can't resist a Victoria sponge, so that and a pot of tea
it was for me (yes, I am now eating cake for breakfast). The Husband went for a more traditional breakfast of a bacon sandwich and pumpkin latte. My cake was delicious, light and fluffy with lots of filling, and the Husband's sarnie was apparently delicious too (yet again, I didn't get a sniff of it).

The other cakes on the menu (Chocolate Heaven. Need I say more?!) all sounded delicious too so OBVIOUSLY I'm going to have to go back very soon and try them. I could have happily sat sipping tea in Bayberry Hollow all day but it started to get really busy once we'd finished our food so we left. I'll definitely be popping back again before Christmas both for the cakes and to pick up a few gifts. I might even just go back to hover around for a while, since the place has such a lovely, welcoming homely feel.

I'll also be dragging asking the Husband to go back so he can buy me this for Christmas. IT'S A MOUSE! IN WELLINGTONS! You can't actually see the wellingtons due to my crappy photography but take my word for it, it's wearing wellingtons. So cute.

Have you visited Bayberry Hollow?

Laura Mercier Creme Brulee Body & Bath Duet

I am a sucker for luxurious bath products. My favourite thing to do on a Sunday night is light a candle and settle into a warm, gorgeously scented bath with a good book on my kindle (usually I'm reading novels about people being murdered, or tortured, or stalked, but oddly that doesn't seem to spoil the ambience). In terms of luxury bath products, in my opinion they don't get much more decadent than Laura Mercier.

Knowing about my love of things that make me smell good enough to eat my own arm (see - too many of those novels!) the Husband bought me a set of Creme Brulee products for my birthday earlier this year. The set contains bath salts and body souffle creme, and it's part of my go-to Sunday night pamper kit. If you haven't smelled the Creme Brulee range, think freshly baked cupcakes, swirled in caramel, covered in buttercream and you're just about there. It's DEEEEEVINE.

The bath salts are a lot less fragranced that the body creme, in my opinion - they do create a pleasant, subtle scent in the bathroom when I use them, but it's when I break out the body creme that the real action begins. This stuff is so rich and smooth it's like rubbing actually cake batter into your skin (I realise that probably sounds disgusting - I mean it in the nicest possible way!). After applying it I am tempted to just lie on my bed, luxuriating (and preferably eating freshly baked cupcakes, swirled in caramel, covered in buttercream - but I usually don't have these to hand).

The best thing about these products though is that the scent really lasts. If I apply it in the morning, throughout the day I'll get whiffs of Creme Brulee as I'm going about my daily doings. The only problem I have now is that I'm terrified about what I'll do when I run out. LM products aren't cheap - the body butter alone retails at £44.50. Good job it's almost Christmas, Husband.

Fluttering My Falsies - Let's Go Lashes

I love long, full lashes. Sadly, I do not have long, full lashes. Therefore, I'm always on the look out for nice, reasonably priced lashes that look natural. I say that as I have tried a few brands/lash types that have made me look like the world's worst drag queen, so a natural look is key. I also don't like the feel of anything on my eye or lid, so I need lightweight lashes that I'll forget I'm wearing. Oh, and they need to stay on all night. Going to the loo midway through the night and checking your reflection to see a runaway lash strip stuck to your cheek is NOT GOOD.

So, on Friday night I had the opportunity to try Let's Go Lashes*, a range of 40 false lashes in varying styles, lengths and thicknesses. The idea is that there's a pair for everyone, whether you're a falsie newbie or a practised regular lash sporter.  There are four collections - Flirt, Tease, Temptress and Heartbreaker and the lashes I was sent were from the Temptress range in number 3, which are described as 'Dramatically luxurious, the wispy-fringed lash that redefines alluring.' I WANT TO BE ALLURING! And I am slightly dramatic, from time to time. These must be perfect for me!

The lashes were really easy to apply using the glue included in the pack and I didn't have to trim them down which was a bonus. I always apply falsies with tweezers and once I had these in place they felt secure and very light, which I loved! As I said, I hate the feeling of having anything on or near my eye so the fact that I pretty much instantly forgot I was wearing these is such a bonus. As the lashes are made from real hair, they look incredibly natural. I didn't feel drag-queeny at all, just glammed up and -yes - even a bit alluring!

I do apologise for the slightly manic selfie below but I wanted to show how natural the lashes looked on.

I am super-impressed with Let's Go Lashes and the range of different lashes available is amazing. I'll certainly be stocking up for the party season and trying a few of the other styles, and, since you know how much I love a bargain, here's the best bit - the lashes normally retail at £6.50 per pair, however if you purchase via the special link below you can buy THREE pairs for just £9 by using code LG3FOR9 at checkout!

Will you be trying Let's Go Lashes?

*Thanks to Propaganda for providing me the lashes to review :)

Gift Inspo - Astrid & Miyu Inital Rings

First of all, apologies about how wrinkled and hideous my hand looks in the above photo. My hands got old. I hereby declare I'll be slathering them in expensive hand cream every 30 minutes for the rest of my life, whilst sobbing into them. But anyway.

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to win a fab comp run by nail polish superheroes Ciate and quirky jewellery brand Astrid & Miyu on Twitter. The prizes I won were the gorgeous Haute House polish set and two super cute initial rings. I chose my fellow CandyRocks-er Andrea to receive the second ring and we waited excitedly for them to arrive.

Astrid & Miyu is not a brand I was familiar with, but a quick browse of their site made me want EVERY THING! The company was founded in 2011 and the names Astrid (Swedish) and Miyu (Japanese) both mean 'exceptionally beautiful', as this is how they want us to feel when we wear their pieces. Love that! Alongside the initial rings we won, A & M also have the most beautiful ranges of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other ring designs.

Our rings came packaged in little black gift boxes and are rose gold plated brass, studded with diamantes. They are also adjustable which I was relieved about as surprisingly, I have very slender fingers. (Fact!!) The rings are really dainty and cute and of course we had to have a pic of both rings together (with nails courtesy of Ciate!). I realised after posting this pic that it looks a little overly familiar, like we're getting married or something. Ah well.)

I especially love that these rings are stackable so you could have a whole word on your finger if you liked. A clean one, obvs. At £39, these are really well priced too and would make a lovely Christmas present. The initial rings come in gold and silver as well as rose gold.

Whilst browsing Astrid & Miyu I also noticed that they offer a Secret Box subscription offer. At £39 every three months, A&M will send you a surprise item customised especially for you. I love this idea, as it's something different to the usual subscription boxes about.

I'll definitely be heading back over to A&S before Christmas, mainly to buy presents but also to drop extremely heavy hints to the Husband about the absolutely stunning Chelsea Carnation Necklace that I've fallen completely in love with.

What do you think of Astrid & Miyu?


Gift Inspo - ShoeFi Shoe Clips

I have one word: SHOES.*

*I actually have a few more words. I just said that to reel you in, for impact. Please don't leave. 

Purdy shoes make me happy. I could be wearing the most blah outfit ever, but if I have a pair of beautiful shoes on, I can do anything. Well, anything that doesn't require me walking too far (the most beautiful shoes are usually the most high/pointed/darn uncomfortable, sadly). So whilst I love fabulous shoes, and own a few knockout pairs, most of the time I find myself going back to my old faithful few pairs of comfortable courts. (God. 'Comfortable Courts'?! I really am nearing middle-age, aren't I? Shoot me now.)

My more comfy shoes are still pretty - I have loads of different colours, and fabrics - they're just a bit....plain. But what if I could add something to my shoes to make them fabulous? Fabulous and comfortable?

Step forward (see what I did there?) ShoeFi. ShoeFi is a new brand run by my friend Fi, specialising in hand made shoe clips. Since Fi is a total shoe fiend and has possibly more shoes than anyone I've ever met/everyone I've ever met put together, she is well qualified in fabulous footwear.

ShoeFi clips can be added to any pair of shoes to create a completely unique look that nobody else will be wearing. I have a few pairs of the clips already and have tried my gorgeous blue sparkly ones with my favourite blue suede stilettos for a glam party look that will be perfect for Christmas, and with some leopard print pointed kitten heels for a night out with the girls. Think of the options!!

Here are a few more of my ShoeFis. It's like I have a whole new shoe wardrobe. Squeeeeeeeee!

ShoeFi clips are made to order so any colour or style can be requested. Prices start at just £4 and you can order by messaging directly via Facebook.

I think these are the perfect Christmas present for a shoe junkie. Obviously I'll be buying myself several more pairs too.

What do you think of ShoeFi?