Thursday, 18 December 2014

Christmas and New Year Giveaway!!! Win a Mini Martini Cocktail Set with House of Fraser

Hi guys!

As it's the season of good cheer, the lovely folk from House of Fraser are offering up this fantastic Mini Martini Cocktail Gift Set for one of you lovely readers.

The Prize

Up for grabs is this Luxe Lounge 6 Piece Mini Martini Set, which includes a stainless steel cocktail shaker, two mini martini glasses, two olive picks, a cocktail strainer and a recipe booklet. It's perfect for creating luxury cocktails in the comfort of your own home this winter!

You can see the item on the House of Fraser website here.

How to enter

I'm hosting the prize on Rafflecopter and details of how to enter are below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway I will be picking a winner in 2 weeks time on Friday 2nd January at 12am so everyone has time to enter over Christmas! Wouldn't that be a great way to start 2015?

Thank you to the House of Fraser Home Department for the prize.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Event: House of Fraser Discover Christmas and Grotto Launch

What could be more festive than slipping away to this Winter Wonderland? For all of you with children, it is a must at this time of year to take the children to meet Santa. If you live in the city centre, House of Fraser has created a magical wonderland complete with penguins, reindeer and real elves!

Me with an Elf! Image Credit Jas Sansi Photography

With Ting from The Ting Thing and the elves. Image credit Jas Sansi Photography

The Christmas Grotto was launched with Georgie Moseley in aid of Help Harry Help Others. Located on the 5th floor of House of Fraser Corporation Street, entry is £5 and children will get to meet Santa and recieve a present! You can also take home a souvenir photograph and purchase Harry's bracekets for a suggested £1 donation.

I was lucky enough to be invited to see the grotto before anyone else. Here are some pictures of the wonderland.

There was also plenty of beauty treatments on offer and I had a fabulous manicure courtesy of Nails Inc. The nail polish used is from the Alexa Chung collection and it was so glossy everyone thought I'd had gels.

There were also pieces from the AW14 collections on show.

The grotto will be open from 10am – 5pm (Monday – Saturday) and 11am – 4pm on (Sundays) from 29 November – 24 December. For more details and to plan your visit click here.

Big thank you to Retail Birmingham and House of Fraser for inviting me :)

New Ted Baker Store Opens in Bullring..Today!

The Bullring just keeps getting better doesn't it? Today, the new Ted Baker store opens it's doors in Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre.

The 3207 square foot store will house Ted’s AW14 menswear, womenswear and accessories collections.

Inspired by Birmingham’s contribution to the industrial revolution, Ted’s newest store is a fun-filled
factory of fashion. The Bullring based store celebrates the city’s most famous exports including metal
pen nibs, jewellery hallmarking and the iconic Cadbury’s chocolate factory.

Throughout the store, lighter details of ink flourishes and scripture appear, reminding the visitor of
Birmingham’s pen making history. Quills, vintage pen nibs and ink wells, all made in Birmingham,
appear in rows on the glass shelves of the ground floor cash desk, adding an authentic finish to the
finer details of the store.

Being one of only four cities in Britain where gold and silver can be certified, Ted celebrates
Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. A bespoke wallpaper pattern of repeated gold hallmarks has been created, which line the walls of the fitting rooms.

To celebrate the opening, why not pop into the store as they will be giving away leather bound notebooks which will be personalised at Ted’s in-store embossing station. You'll also be in with the chance of winning a £1000 shopping spree when you ‘Clock on to Ted’ by leaving their details.

Hppy Shopping!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Event: Smiggle UK Launch at Bullring Birmingham

The Bullring is welcoming a host of new stores lately, and one of these to open just recently is Smiggle. I was invited along to the launch and as well as getting a tour of the store, I also got to learn more about the brand.

Smiggle Alphabet Keyrings - need one

Smiggle 2015 Diaries - love these!

Smiggle is short for 'a smile and a giggle' and is dedicated to fuelling creativity by delivering original, fun and affordable stationary. The product development team brings out new pieces continuously and all the stationary is fun, quirky, individual and colourful. A household name in Australia where there are 160 stores, they are now opening across the UK with 18 stores open in time for Christmas.

The Bullring store is small but perfectly formed. Full to the rafters with a host of colourful pencil cases, notebooks pens and more, it is a stationary lovers dream.

I took a few snaps of my favourite pieces, including this milk carton pencil case which is very much in the style of the Chanel Lait De Coco Bag from AW14 - cute!

We were also gifted this fabulous Advent Calendar, a great alternative to chocolate for kids.

A big thank you to the team at Smiggle for having me!!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Bobbi Brown Make Up Lesson and Long Wear Gel Sparkle Launch

Whilst I may have missed the Bobbi Brown Shadow Meets Liner Launch when I was away on holiday, the guys at Bobbi Brown were kind enough to invite me in for a one-to-one Make Up Lesson at House of Fraser Birmingham instead.

With Shanice from House of Fraser Birmingham

The lovely Shanice took me in for a lesson and demonstrated the new Shadow Meets Liner. As a complete Bobbi Brown newbie, I was really keen to find out more about the brand and stories behind the products. Taking me around the counter to try out everything from skincare to makeup, Shanice talked me through the Pretty Powerful philosophy. Bobbi Brown is a real believer of less is more, and the make up is designed to accentuate the good parts of the real you rather than create something that isn’t naturally there.

I was surprised to see that there is such an extensive skincare range available, and I had a look at the Extra Balm Rinse and Finishing Powder.

Once we’d chosen a shade of Shadow Meets Liner for me, Thunderstorm, we sat down and the make up lesson began.

I don’t usually wear eyeshadow but Shanice persuaded me to try something new, so I went for Thunderstorm, a silvery dark blue colour as a change from anything I’d normally wear. Both an eyeliner and eyeshadow, I opted to use it as an eyeshadow just to experiment.

On the wish list - Bobbi Brown brushes

First of all, Shanice prepped the eye area using Extra EyeRepair to moisturise the area, before using both the Corrector in bisque and Concealer Kit in beige under the eye area, using the concealer brush. She explained that these two products work perfectly together to correct and then conceal, and that Bobbi has always said that if she could formulate the two together, she would. Next came the Long Wear Eye Base in Medium all over the eye to give a flawless finish and prime the eyelid. I loved this product and it would be great as an everyday alternative to shadow for a pared down look. Next up, the star of the show; Long Wear Gel Sparkle in Thunderstorm. This pigmented, glittery colour was worked into the eyelid and taken up to just below the crease, before being blended out. On the crease, Shanice used the Eyeshadow in Shell to blend out into and create a contrast. To finish, the Long Wear Gel Eyeliner in black gave further contrast and I asked for a little flick too. A little tip from Shanice when using different colours on the eye was to work from darkest to lightest from the eyelashes, so my eyes went from black, to Thunderstorm, to Shell.

You can see the finished look here:

Eyes closed

Eyes open

There is a huge range of lessons available from 10minute to 60minute makeovers.

Here’s the full menu of complimentary lessons:

Makeup Lesson Menu

What do you think of my Smokey Eye lesson?

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Food Review: Festive Afternoon Tea at Hyatt Regency Birmingham

It's officially feeling a little bit like Christmas. The John Lewis advert has aired, the German Markets are back in Birmingham and this little invite popped into my inbox.

Festive Afternoon Tea Tier - Gluten Free 

Situated on Bridge Street, just opposite Symphony Hall and the NIA, the Hyatt Regency is offering a Festive Afternoon Tea for a limited time only from 1st-31st December.

A stunning hotel, the main entrance hall is a grand glass roofed atrium complete with water features, columns and marble.

This stetely setting is where we took afternoon tea and along with Lil Miss Chickas and Emily from Emily's Recipes and Reviews, we sat down to take in a very English experience.

When offered a choice of tea, coffee or mulled wine, I opted for coffee first before the main event. We were then sold on the mulled wine and took a little to try in our authentic copper mugs.

Mulled Wine is served

Then, in perfect synchrony, the afternoon tea tiers arrived, three tiers of cakes, scones and sandwiches.

Plain and Raisin Scones with Clotted Cream

As a gluten-free foodie, I did share my dietary requirements with the hosts before I came, and was so pleased that they could accomodate me for the afternoon tea. However, when the food arrived I could see that this wasn't just a quick fix, there was real effort that had gone into creating a gluten free feast that rivalled the gluten-full option.

A trio of desserts

Not only did I get six mini sandwiches in 6 different flavours, I also had two types of gluten free scones and three gluten free petit fours.

This was no hastily assembled gluten-free solution, but a carefully thought about and arranged selection of cakes that included gluten free pastry and had been made from scratch.

Here is the menu for both the standard and gluten free Festive Afternoon Tea:

As is tradition, I started off with the sandwiches, moved onto a spicy scone and finished off with 3 desserts, yum!

Spiced Apple in a shotglass

The desserts were my favourite part of the meal and the Vanilla Sponge topped with chopped crystallised ginger and plums was light but festive. The Chocolate Orange Truffle on a shortbread base was rich in flavour, but airy in texture thanks to the delicate mousse and topped off with a fresh mandarin segment for added zing. Finally, the Spiced Apple with Calvados whipped cream in a shot glass was heavenly. I love to feel like I'm eating something healthy but tasty, and the fresh apples were finished with some luxuriously decadent cream.

Spiced Apple and Calvados Shot

I cannot thank the chef enough for creating such a thoughtful and flavoursome afternoon tea.

What better way to ease yourself into Christmas with this indulgent afternoon tea? Whether you make a day of it or want to break up a busy day of shopping, why not sit down and relax at your leisure in this stunning setting?

With thanks to everyone at the Hyatt and Natalie for hosting the tasting.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Event: A Beautiful Fairytale at Harvey Nichols

Last week I took a trip to Harvey Nichols for the Beautiful Fairytale event, a chance to try out some new products, meet representatives from some of the brands stocked in Harvey Nichols, and take a look at the store in the midst of the Mailbox redevelopment.

Myself, Ting from The Ting Thing and Elle

Outfit post alert: Dress and Shoes - New Look / Bag - Whistles

One of the highlights of the evening was the chance to win £500 to spend on shoes by guessing which shoe was hidden under velvet. Sadly I didn't win but it was fun to try!

The Shoe Competition

The Winning Shoe

Myself and Ting from The Ting Thing quizzed experts from brands including SantaVerde and Dr Jacksons and tried out the healthy drinks from Plenish.

Plenish Drinks available here

SantaVerde skincare available here

There was also a chance to spin the wheel and pick an extra prize with every purchase. I managed to resist but Ting and Elle took a spin and won both times! The gifts were fantastic and they won a Life candle and luxury body cream.

Spin to Win!

We also got to enjoy some themed drinks such as pink gin and tonic in mini milk bottles and treats from the sweet cart such as macarons, love hearts and chocolate mousse.

Ting from The Ting Thing

Heart Shaped Macarons

Love Hearts in Jars

Drink Me Pink Drinks

Pink Drinks only

Sweet Trolley

There was also time for dressing up fun and we raided the box and had our picture taken by the professional photographer on hand (the pictures below were taken on my camera, the first picture was taken by him).

It was great to have an excuse to look around Harvey Nichols ahead of the £50m Mailbox revamp when the store will take on 45,000 sq ft in time for a 2015 opening.

A big thank you to Harvey Nichols for hosting the event.