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.

Saturday 1 November 2014

Starbucks Red Cups launch at Selfridges Birmingham and London #RedCups

For some it's the sight of the Coca Cola advert, for others, the first decorations in the shops that herald the beginning of the Christmas season.

I know, however, that the thing that most bloggers in particular eagerly await is that first sighting of the Starbucks Red Cups.

I was lucky enough to start celebrating early and join Starbucks, Selfridges Birmingham on 24th October for the Red Cups pre-launch. 

This year, classic Red Cups favourites Eggnog Latte, Toffee Nut Latte and Gingerbread Latte are back on the menu, with Honey and Almond Hot Chocolate joining the Red Cups family for the first time.

It's confession time from me; I wouldn't normally try out anything as fancy as this if I were to stop off for a drink and I'd usually go for an Americano or Espresso. However, everyone deserves a treat now and then so I dug in and got to try out two drinks, the Gingerbread Latte and Honey and Almond Hot Chocolate.

The Honey and Almond Hot Chocolate is made from hot chocolate with the addition of almond syrup, chocolate whip, honey and mocha drizzle. To tie in with Selfridges' theme of "A touch of gold" this year, this was also topped off with gold sprinkles! To save a few calories and simply because I'm used to drinking soy, I chose a soya milk base but still said yes to the creamy whip.

I adored the Honey and Almond Hot Chocolate with it's rich, smooth taste, sweet but not too sweet base and that decadent chocolate whipped cream and mocha drizzle on top. I could drink this every day, but instead I'll be ordering this on my next shopping trip.

Next I got to try the Gingerbread Latte. Again, I went for soya and you cna always go for skimmed milk and leave off the whipped cream if you're after a lighter version of the drink. The latte tastes like a gingerbread biscuit with ground nutmeg on top. I found i to be a lot lighter than expected and that's the beauty, that you can personalise your drinks and ask for more or less syrup to be used depending on your preference. 

I also got to take away the famous Starbucks tumbler, this year made in gold.

So what do think, which drink is top of your list to try? The Red Cups launch nationwide on 4th November (but the gold sprinkles are exclusive to Selfridges!)

A big thank you to Clare for having me!