Monday, May 27, 2013

Wedding Hair with V05 Plump it up

When time allows me to get handy with the rollers I love nothing more than some curl in my hair, usually with the assistance of mum and her Babyliss Heated Rollers. The recent wedding I attended was the perfect occasion for some bounce and volume so I packed the necessary products to make extra certain my curls would last from day to evening.

I was recently sent and have been using some products from VO5 and my two favourites have been the High Definition Blow Dry Lotion* and Weightless Mousse*. I have used the blow dry lotion daily, applying a few spritz to my damp hair before reaching for the hairdryer and can certainly say it is giving my hair some much needed volume and bounce throughout the day. And the mousse is fabulous. Still somewhat scarred from mousses of the 80s when hair would be left crisp to the touch I was slightly apprehensive when applying this but from the moment you squirt a little into your hand you realise how light weight it is. You do not experience any of the sticky residue usually found with mousses and again the volume it gives to your hair is amazing. 

I'm pretty lazy with my hair (and most things!) wanting exceptional results without much effort and these two products certainly help with that. I was going out with a friend after work one night last week and washed my hair for the second time that evening, used the above products and went to the extra effort of popping in some Trevor Sorbie self grip rollers. These were only in an hour whilst applying make up and getting myself dressed and my hair looked AMAZING! I wish I had taken some before and after pictures as I was so pleased with how it had turned out. You know when you give something a try and keep looking in the mirror asking yourself if that's your hair and you achieved it yourself!

So my advice to you if you're a roller wearer or just want to see some volume and life in even the finest of hair, add some VO5 products to your arsenal - they'll work wonders!

*PR sample

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Macdonald Elmers Court Hotel & Resort

If you read this post you will know that on this weekend I stayed at the Macdonald Elmers Court Hotel in Lymington for my cousins wedding and I thought I'd provide a review of how I found the hotel. 

We arrived at the hotel on Friday afternoon with the help of the iphone 5's trusty sat nav. The receptionist identified us immediately as wedding guests and told us the sofa bed had been made up for us. We were offered newspaper for the morning, provided a map of the grounds and given all the details needed for our stay such as where breakfast was served and where the wedding would be held.

Our room was in one of the groups of chalet type accommodations separate from the main hotel. These were very similar to rooms we stayed in last year for my other cousins wedding, large patio doors opening out in to a wide green space. 

Considering there would be three adults in the room and the open sofa bed the room didn't feel too claustrophobic and clearly not realising that my parents daughter was of a certain age there was a boredom relieving activity pack waiting for me on the bed.

Unfortunately the weather on Friday meant that we were unable to explore the grounds you can see pictured but my dad and I did enjoy a drink in the Steak House lounge whilst my mum and aunt were helping the future bride and groom put some finishing touches to the reception rooms for the next day. 

I had also not expected to arrive with so much time to spare so didn't think to bring my swimming costume or make an appointment at the spa but both looked like they would have been the perfect antidote to the bad weather. 

With an hour or two to kill before our dinner mum and I decided we wanted a good old cuppa and rang reception for fresh milk which arrived about 5 mins a poor member of staff who braved the rain to bring it too us that I felt rather guilty. 

Saturday morning we went over for breakfast in the Steak House which is separate from the main hotel building but luckily a minutes walk from our apartment. There was the usual offerings one would expect, cereals, pastries, cheese and meats and we were offered and brought tea, coffee and toast on sitting at our table. Hot breakfast orders were taken and a delicious English breakfast arrived after choosing how we would like our eggs cooked (poached FYI!).

We were able to get ready in the room without too much fuss and plenty of towels for 3 people. Despite  the large patio doors there isn't much natural light in the room, likely from the shade of the stairs to the upper floors. And being on ground floor for privacy closed curtains is required and it could feel a little dark at times. 

One criticism was the wifi capabilities of the room and it's location. It was a bit of black spot for normal service and 3G and armed with my laptop I'd made enquiries on internet access. The hotel didn't offer a service but referred me to BT Openzone which I paid for a 24 hour service to cover me from Friday evening to Saturday afternoon in the lead up to the wedding. The next morning I was unable to log on to the system which caused some stress due to the YouTube make up tutorial I had planned to use for the occasion and frustration at having paid for a service I couldn't use. Obviously this is an issue to pick up with BT but worth noting if you are staying at the hotel.

The wedding service was held at a local church with the reception held in the hotels function room and I cannot compliment the staff more in how they handled the day. They were swift and appeared in the background when needed, keeping everything moving along smoothly. 

Our meal was delicious, served promptly and served warm - not always the case with many a wedding meal! No complaints from me on the wine but unfortunately for my designated driver brother the diet coke being served was flat and unpleasant that he moved onto water for most of the evening. 

I retired to bed before my parents (official sad case here!) and happily walked back to the room past the outdoor swimming pool and garden draughts board and snuggled into bed with a cup of tea and piece of cake and was not affected by any noise coming from the main building.

Sunday morning arrived with another trip to the steak house for breakfast, this time for the abundance of people staying overnight for the wedding. Again despite the numbers breakfast was served promptly, tea and toast was brought in abundance and I had some of the best boiled eggs in a long time. 

The sun was shining more glorious than the day before and it was lovely to sit outside on the grounds and admire the views of the Solent and just a shame we hadn't booked for another night to enjoy what the hotel had on offer.

Obviously my review is as a wedding guest so my activities were provided for much of my stay and plans were in place for me so I can't advise on the evening meals at the Steak House or the restaurant in the main building. In terms of location it is somewhat in accessible by foot and unless you're into some long walks you will need to drive into the local towns and high streets. 

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Victoria Secret Love Spell Shimmer Lotion

I can't deny that my love for Victoria Secret's stemmed initially from sharing my name with their stores. In my early years visiting the USA before Victoria Secret stores could be found on Regent Street and in Westfield it was the No. 1 shopping destination for me so I could stock up on pyjamas and products with my name splashed across them - and of course the fabulous pink striped bags and boxes that my mum still uses to wrap my presents in for birthdays and Christmas, well it saves on gift tags!

Victoria Secret are not just stockists of fun and flirty lingerie and nightwear but also a range of lotions and potions, my favourite being The Love Spell, described as a flirty, floral fragrance with a blend of lush cherry blossom and juicy peach. I was able to pick up this Shimmer Lotion on my trip last year glad to finally replace the previous release of this lotion purchased many years ago and had been savouring the last few drops of.

I tend to save this shimmering lotion for nights out and special occasions with a little shimmer on the legs is welcomed. In Saturday's glorious sunshine it was nice to have some shimmer coming from legs and not just a glare from how pasty white they were!

This is a fabulous smelling, perfectly moisturing cream with the added extra of the shimmer which will stay put for the evening and finishes off your pins nicely.

Do let me know if you're a fan of or tried any of the Victoria Secrets beauty products.

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Wedding Weekend

This weekend my family and I travelled to New Forest, a lovely part of the world for the wedding of my cousin James to his gorgeous fiancé Natalia.
I was lucky enough to share a room with my parents at the beautiful Elmers Court Hotel in Lymington (where the wedding was held) which if not enough to make me revert to feeling like a child the activity set welcoming me on the sofa bed certainly did!
We travelled to the venue on Friday morning to allow mum to spend as much time with her brothers and sisters as it has been many years since they have all been in the room same room together, particularly her brother Tony who had travelled from Australia for the occasion.
There was a final meal for the groom on Friday evening at local pub The Snakecatcher where despite having a dress to squeeze into the next day I of course opted for the burger!
Despite the rain and gloom of Friday the sun thankfully shone when we awoke the next morning and we had a fabulous day filled with love, laughter, champagne and good food. The sun continued to shine as we awoke on Sunday morning and we travelled back home praising the lord that all the traffic jams were on the opposite side of the road!

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Friday, May 24, 2013

BEDM: What's in your fridge

Yes people this is the sad state of affairs that is my fridge! In my defense I would usually go shopping on a Friday/Saturday and I am away at a wedding this weekend but it's pretty representative of this single girls life - diet coke, champagne and beer!

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

BEDM: What I'd Tell My 13 year old self

Don't listen to the bullies, you look fab in glasses and in a few years time people who don't need glasses will be buying pairs with clear lenses just to look cool!

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

BEDM: Dream Job

Whilst I won't go so far to say that I am employed in my dream job it is one I'm very happy with. I always say that if I have to work for a living this is pretty good. I've been with my company for nearly 7 years and my current role was built around my skills and the need of the department - pretty flattering!

My day job affords me the time and money to enjoy many luxuries in life - such as the Clarins shopping spree I've just been on and the dinner I'm off to with a friend this evening. I also get to wear my nice collection of dresses (can you believe this one was just £25!). It is a nice position to be in that beside the usual, urgh is it Monday again, I do work in a place I enjoy and even if I won the lottery I think I'd still want to work here on a part time/flexible basis as I have some great friends and we've had some even better nights out together.

More importantly having a settled day job means I can enjoy the pleasure of blogging (I'm writing this post at my desk now!). In my younger years I always wanted to be a journalist/writer (stay tuned for a forthcoming BEDM post about why that didn't happen) and blogging allows me to enjoy the pleasure I find in writing and who knows - maybe I will write that book one day.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Lelli Kelly Vs Converse

This weekend my niece and I proudly displayed off our new footwear purchases - it goes to show whether you're 2 or 34 a girl loves a new pair of shoes

Gold Converse: Office
Lelli Kelly shoes: Jones Bootmaker

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Victoria Plum Doll - Where is she now?

My blogger stats tell me my most viewed post is this one about my Victoria Plum doll purchase. As it was originally posted 4 years ago today I thought I'd give everyone a little update to say that Victoria Plum is still living with me and happily sits on my bookshelf alongside my Russian Doll (a gift from grandfather when I was very young) and a box of sewing threads I kept from my great aunts belongings when she passed away.

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

BEDM: Favourite Tradition

When I think of tradition it usually surrounds family and Christmas. Whilst I wouldn't usually dare mention the C word this early in the year it is where the BEDM topic for today has taken me.

From PJ's gifted on Christmas Eve, the local Christmas market, carols on the green and my favourite the day my family come over and help me decorate my Christmas tree. It's such a fun task trying to direct my niece and nephew to spread out the decorations, enjoying some baked treats or party food, Christmas music and movies in the background it's perfect.

Read more about my Christmas traditions here

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

BEDM: Best Friends

2 years ago I wrote a post about my best friends and I'm pleased to report that there are no changes in the friendship camp so rather than repeat myself I'm simply going to say click here and you'll be able to read all about them

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

BEDM: Pampering

Pampering for me involves the services of others. I'm not one to lounge in a bath as I get bored and feel there is so much else I can do with my day but get me in a salon for a cut and blow dry, pedicure or my favourite a massage and I'd happily sit there all day.

A pedicure is my luxury indulgence, sitting in their special chair and letting some other brave soul bring my feet to a condition where I'm not afraid to show them off in public, complete with leg massage (my favourite bit!). Whenever I visit Westfield Stratford just before home I pop to see the Massage Angels  and allow myself 10 mins to  work out those knots from carrying all those shopping bags before I jump back on the tube home.

Now we must consider a hair cut a necessity surely?! I spent a long time having a hairdresser visit me at home so it took away some of the enjoyment of having it done as there's nothing more I enjoy than having my hair washed by someone else.

I was recently invited to the Gorkana Blogger & PR Networking Event at the Piccadilly branch of House of Rush and my word this place is amazing. I'm certainly planning to book myself in for some pampering treatments very soon.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Food Glorious Food | Tarragon Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Today’s BEDM topic is food which gives me the perfect opportunity to share a recipe for the most delicious tarragon chicken pie I made a few weeks ago. And it’s so simple! This dish was on GMTV Oscars day where they made individual pies and decorated with an Oscar design. It’s such a great recipe to cook for friends as it can be done in advance and perfect for the cooler Spring weather we’re experiencing and want something a little lighter but with some warmth and comfort. I served with carrots and long stemmed broccoli but a salad would work just as well and if you’re being better than I with calorie consumption you could simply enjoy the tarragon chicken without the puff pastry topping – although that would be a tragedy in my eyes!

70g plain flour
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
750g chicken breast fillets cut into 2cm dice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, white part only, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
150ml chicken stock
4 tbsp crème fraiche
A small bunch of tarragon leaves chopped
375g ready-rolled all butter puff pastry
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Combine flour, cayenne pepper and salt in a shallow bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat, shaking off any excess flour.

2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add chicken and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until light golden. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

3. Return pan to a medium heat; add leeks and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add stock and crème fraiche, simmer gently for 5 minutes, then return the chicken to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes further. Remove from heat, season and stir through the tarragon.

4. You will need 4 individual pie dishes. Using an upside down dish as a guide, cut out a round of pastry for the pie lid(s), allowing an extra 1cm all round. Spoon the filling into the dishes. Brush the rims with egg and top with the pastry lids pushing down the edges around the rim. Brush tops with egg yolk and pierce the top of each pie. Use any pastry trimmings to cut out Oscar figurines and use these to decorate the top of your pies.

5. Brush decorations with egg and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden. Cool for 5 minutes before serving with a crisp green salad.
Do let me know if you give this a whirl, I would love to know if you think this is amazing as I do! Who’s hungry?

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Monday, May 13, 2013

BEDM: Go Green

I am afraid to admit that I can't say I'm a particularly green person and the phrase "could do better" couldn't apply to me more. I'm unable to recycle properly at my flat and I have been know to use a baby wipe when a damp cloth will do. On a more positive side the company I work for are very keen on going green. We do not have individual bins, instead we have to use recycling stations on our floors to ensure we distribute our waste for composting, recycling etc. I do try to reuse paper and instead of a fresh new notepad, have a clipped pile of scrap paper I use for note taking as you wouldn't believe the paper that is wasted around the office.

Writing this post has given me pause for thought and I have a feeling if I pop round and visit your blogs and hear about your worthy green endeavours I will pick up some tips and be shamed into doing more.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

BEDM: Pineapple and Flamingo Collections

Am I collector? I would guess I am but thankfully not like my younger days when I collected pigs and would add anything with a snout to my collection which took over my room with each new addition. I collect various bits and bobs, you'll have seen the collection of toys and childhood books in yesterday's post I have, you know I like my designer handbags; do we call that a collection? And then there are pineapples and flamingos. I'm not quite sure where my love or collection came from, maybe the pineapples from my love of my vintage ice bucket, but the flamingos; that one I have no idea!

Luckily enough both these characters are appearing more frequently in the shops making adding to my collection very easy and none more so than when I went to IKEA recently and saw the images they were using on this years Summer ranges.

Age and wisdom allows me to realise I only need to purchase items I actually like and will use and both flamingo and pineapple glasses were a must but I sensibly only purchased two of each. There were cocktail napkins which I stocked up on in abundance as I go through these quickly needing a coaster for my iced filled drinks. I'm also prone to lazy days when I want to avoid washing up so I popped some of the paper plates into my trolley.

My favourite purchase was the flamingo throw (I didn't like the female on the pineapple version) which I have no real purpose for but thought would be ideal for laying out in the garden should we ever get to see some sunshine this year.

I could go on and on and tell you about the two flamingo bikini's I have purchased and stayed tuned for later this week some more pineapple items have been added to my Summer wardrobe. I'm currently drinking out of my flamingo mugs from Lou Rota and I'm about to order some flamingo prints for my bedroom which I am very excited about.

Do let me know if you're a fellow flamingo or pineapple fan and I can't wait to check out your collections.

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