Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Lush Middlesbrough Blogger Event - Gorilla perfume volume 3 release

Last week I was invited along to Lush Middlesbrough's first blogger event to launch volume 3 of their Gorilla perfume; Death, Decay and Renewal. Lots of local bloggers congregated in the shop before the shutter was pulled down and the shop closed off to customers. It was a blogger's paradise being able to take as many photos as we wanted and try out all the products with no other customers!
We were introduced to the Gorilla perfumes, specifically the three new perfumes, Kerbside Violet, Death and Decay, and All Good Things. We all had a good sniff and decided on our favourites. Mine was Kerbside Violet, it smelt like parma violets and the bubble bar Ultraviolet smells just like it!
Lush Middlesbrough Blogger Event - Gorilla perfume volume 3 release

Lush Middlesbrough Blogger Event - Gorilla perfume volume 3 release

Lush Middlesbrough Blogger Event - Gorilla perfume volume 3 release

Lush Middlesbrough Blogger Event - Gorilla perfume volume 3 release

Lush Middlesbrough Blogger Event - Gorilla perfume volume 3 release

The girls also showed us the Mother's Day products which included Ultraviolet, Yummy Mummy shower gel and Secret Garden bath bomb. I got a sample of the shower gel and it smells amazing! I would definitely recommend having a smell when you are in store next as you will want to take it home with you!

I really enjoyed this event, the girls did a brilliant job and it was great to see some other local bloggers. Being told about the background of the perfume and having the chance to stand and smell them all has made me consider buying one. Maybe I'll be smelling of a Lush Gorilla perfume sometime soon...

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

So you've had a bad day...

Everyone has bad days. Days you get home from work and want to crawl into bed. Days when you can't be bothered to make dinner, do any chores or even get into a conversation. To go some way towards helping, I've come up with a list of things that make me feel better when I've had a bad day that are sure to cheer you up.
Tips to help perk you up after a bad day
- Dressing down. When you get home, take off your stuffy work clothes and get into something cosy and snug, like PJs, your dressing gown and a pair of slippers.
- Relax in bubbles. Getting into a warm bath filled with bubbles and surrounded by candles is the dream. To just sit with your own thoughts for a while surrounded by warmth is lovely.
-Comfort food. Whenever I feel down I turn to sweet treats even though I probably shouldn't. I'm talking about cake, chocolate and sweets! It's not wanted, it's needed!
-The perfect accompaniment. Once in a while, it's nice to have a cold alcoholic beverage to de-stress, followed by a marshmallow filled hot chocolate to make you feel all warm inside.
-Take yourself somewhere else. Put your favourite film or TV programme on, or simply pick up a book and transport yourself to another place. Feeling like you are in someone else's world for a few hours is an easy way to forget about your troubled day.
-Express your emotions. If your day has been exceptionally bad and you feel the need to cry, just do it. It will make you feel 10 times better to just release all your feelings.
-Time for bed. At the end of the day, there is nothing better than slipping into some new bedding. It may take a bit of effort and a few minutes to change them, but when you are in your bed you will feel the benefit.

Like I said, everyone has bad days, the trick is to not let them take over your week. Shake them off and start the next day afresh. I hope these go some way to making you feel better on a bad day! Let me know what you do to perk yourself up on a bad day!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Treebridge Hotel Afternoon Tea Review

For Mum's birthday, we decided to try another location on the Gazette's list of places to try in Teesside for afternoon tea. In January, we visited number two on their list - Starters in Middlesbrough - it was okay but we are still looking for something better.

From the list, we chose the Treebridge Hotel in Middlesbrough and got ourselves booked up on a Tuesday afternoon. As we went during the week it was extremely quiet and there was no one else around. It didn't take long for our stand of food to arrive, accompanied by special plain sandwiches for my sister, little jars of jam and copious amounts of tea.

The Treebridge Hotel Middlesbrough Afternoon Tea Review

The Treebridge Hotel Middlesbrough Afternoon Tea Review

The Treebridge Hotel Middlesbrough Afternoon Tea Review

The Treebridge Hotel Middlesbrough Afternoon Tea Review

The Treebridge Hotel Middlesbrough Afternoon Tea Review

The Treebridge Hotel Middlesbrough Afternoon Tea Review

The sandwiches available included prawn mayonnaise, egg and cress, ham and mustard and chicken with chive dressing and mixed leaves. I mostly just ate the egg sandwiches as I don't like prawns but I did try the ham and the chicken and they were good. 

Next, it was on to the scones. Now I am not by any stretch of the imagination an expert on scones but I found these to be very flat and crumbly like they had been handled too much. I ate my fruit one and it was nice but it broke apart very easily when I tried to cut it open. I didn't fancy the cheese so my sister ate that which she seemed to enjoy.  During our food, we were offered more tea which we accepted. It was all included which I was pleased about!

Finally, it was on to the cake. There seemed to be a good few choices on the top plate with various flavours. When we started to tuck in we were very underwhelmed. The cheesecake was not nice at all, I couldn't actually tell you what flavour it was, me and my sister both left this. Then it was on to the red velvet, I wasn't a fan, but then again I just don't understand red velvet cake anyway. I'm not really one for macaroons so this didn't excite me, then it was on to the chocolate monarch. This was tasty, not the best chocolate cake I've eaten but the best of a bad bunch and I ate it all.

This afternoon tea was £15.95 per person of which I had to pay £5 each as a deposit when booking. Although the Treebridge Hotel is a beautiful setting and the look of the afternoon tea was lovely, I was disappointed by the detail that had gone into it. The scones were flat and the cakes weren't the most appetising. I was however pleased by the offer of more tea. You always need more tea at an afternoon tea.

Even though I'm not keen on the afternoon tea here I can tell you they do fabulous food! I'd definitely recommend here for a nice steak or a Sunday lunch.

Monday, 16 February 2015

#CurrysIntroJuicing - Joe Blogs Juicing Event with Currys & PC World

A while back I noticed a tweet from Joe Blogs asking for anyone who'd like to attend a juicing/fitness event in the North. As I'm trying to get healthy and active I thought this would be the perfect thing for me to attend to keep my motivation up.
I attended with one of my new blogging friends, Sammi, and we drove up to Leeds on a very chilly afternoon in her little yellow Fiat 500. We went prepared for yoga in our workout gear and got some funny looks as we walked to the venue. 
When were got there it was packed full of bloggers! The Joe Blogs team had planned the session for Currys & PC World with five different activities around the room. There was Rocket Yoga, a play-station (for trying different juice combinations), gourmet soup (where we could fill up and have some savoury food), a mocktail making session and Shakela a nutritionist there to help us better our health.
CurrysIntroJuicing - Joe Blogs Juicing Event with Currys & PC World

CurrysIntroJuicing - Joe Blogs Juicing Event with Currys & PC World

CurrysIntroJuicing - Joe Blogs Juicing Event with Currys & PC World

CurrysIntroJuicing - Joe Blogs Juicing Event with Currys & PC World

CurrysIntroJuicing - Joe Blogs Juicing Event with Currys & PC World

CurrysIntroJuicing - Joe Blogs Juicing Event with Currys & PC World

CurrysIntroJuicing - Joe Blogs Juicing Event with Currys & PC World

Each station provided us with lots of useful information that we could take away and put into practice at home. As we went around the different stations I discovered:
  • Rocket yoga is not relaxing like I thought it was going to be. It is very fast-paced and takes lots of effort and concentration!
  • I really like juices. I don't mind drinking vegetable ones which aren't too tasty as I know they are good for me. I've started using my juicer more following this.
  • There are so many supplements and natural things that you can add to juices and smoothies to make them much better for you.
  • If you aren't too keen on vegetable juices you can add some pineapple or an apple to it sweeten it and make it much easier to drink.
Joe Blogs held a great event with lots of exciting things do and many people to meet and chat to. Thanks to Joe Blogs and Currys & PC World for the invite.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Five reasons why you should be watching WWE...

As you may or may not know since about October last year myself and my boyfriend have become a little obsessed with WWE. I would say that I have gotten more into merchandise, wanting to see a live show and all the drama whilst Matt just loves to watch the wrestling. Either way, we are both hooked and now with the WWE Network out in the UK, it is becoming more and more the only thing that is on our TV.

Now before you go and judge us, I want to list five things, in no particular order, that might change your mind and make you want to become part of the WWE Universe.

1. The Superstars - These are the main reason anyone watches WWE and of course they are the draw due to the main audience being guys (or so I'm led to believe). They also might be some people's biggest turn-off. You could say they play-act too much, they are just fighting all the time (obvs) and it may all get a bit boring? What I enjoy about the superstars is learning who is who, which superstars are in the limelight at the moment and who are they feuding against in their storyline. As you watch you start to get favourites, decide who you like and who you dislike and when this happens you are hooked! Another good thing for us female viewers is that some (most) are pretty bulked up and good looking... Look up Roman Reigns for your proof.

2. The Divas - The fierce female wrestlers are slowly getting more airtime on RAW and Smackdown which I would suggest is linked to their reality programme, Total Divas. Either way, I'm all for women wrestling and the current roster show that you don't have to be big and bulky to be successful.

3. The feuds and story-lines - As you may well know, WWE is all scripted and they have a huge creative team working on this all year round. They decide who will be wrestling, who they we will be competing against and any backstage chatter. This is a big part of why I like WWE as it has something you can follow and potentially start guessing as to what happens next. The great thing with WWE is that you are not always right and they may throw a spanner in the works!

4. The entrance music and sudden arrivals on stage - When I first started watching WWE with Matt, who has been a fan since childhood, I would always say who is that? Whose music is that? And once I even tested him with snippets on iTunes - that's just the fun we have in our house. Nowadays I have around nine WWE superstar/diva songs on my phone which get listened to regularly. I now love to guess myself who is coming out just from their music. Speaking of coming out into the ring, I love when someone will be talking and all of a sudden the music bursts on because someone is coming down to interrupt. It is so dramatic. I'm sad but I love it.

5. The backstage reality TV (Total Divas + WWE Network) - Before deciding to watch WWE we started watching Total Divas on E! which is a reality show following around the main roster Divas in their everyday life. Divas include the Bella Twins, Natalya, Naomi, Eva Marie and Cameron - you may not know these names but if you watch, you soon will! It is such an interesting insight into their normal day to day lives but also their lives on the road with WWE. On top of this now we've just got the WWE Network and have been watching quite a few shows that document different times in the WWE history, such as Monday Night Wars which highlights the feud between WWE and WCW both airing on a Monday night in the days before video recorders! It's fascinating to see the backstage workings of WWE and what happened to get them to where they are now.
So what do you think? Have I got you a little bit interested to watch? Has it sparked your interest? If yes, then start with RAW on Monday nights and Smackdown on Friday nights, both on Sky Sports. Let me know if you are into WWE as I am always looking for girls to natter about it with!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Four ways cook with courgettes

When I was out with a friend of mine, Sammi from Daisy Daydreams, we got chatting about food and cooking. She told me that she didn't like courgettes. Courgettes are one of my favourite vegetables as they are so versatile and delicious. Courgettes, also known as zucchini in the States, have so many health benefits as they are full of fibre, vitamin C and antioxidants! An all-round great vegetable that can be eaten in so many different ways! I decided to put together a list of ways you can eat courgette in meals and some more ideas about how to use it in cooking and baking!

Courgette Zuchini Vegetable Cooking Ideas Clean Eating

1. Zoodles! Courgette (or zucchini) noodles! For this, you need either a spiraliser or a julienne peeler to create the noodle shape. I would HIGHLY recommend getting a spiraliser as it makes them so much better and is easier. You can have these noodles wherever you would usually use pasta or normal noodles. Using courgette noodles means you get less simple carbs and more nutrition from the yummy courgettes. I've had them with pasta sauce and with pesto and vegetables but the possibilities are endless.
2. Roasted. Courgettes are great cut into pieces sprayed with a little oil and put in the oven to crisp up. They have such a great flavour to them that they work perfectly with other roast vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and sweet potatoes.
3. Courgette boats (as we like to call them!) This was a recipe I found on good ol' Pinterest which has become a firm favourite in our house. You scoop out the flesh and fill the hole with a layer of cooked rice/pasta, then sliced pepper (I change this up for mushroom) and then chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese and put into a roasting tin filled with stock and cook in the oven for around 45-50 mins. It is so delicious I really can't get enough.
4. Courgette lasagna. This is another recipe that caught my eye on Pinterest. I love lasagna but you can be left feeling very full and bloated. With this, you get all that you want from a lasagna but without the pasta carbs and with more vegetables!

Other ideas I've seen for using courgette include:-
Baked parmesan courgette (wedges)
Courgette oat chocolate chip cookies
Courgette fritters
Baked courgette crisps
Courgette CAKE

Will you be reconsidering the good old courgette now? Have you got some good cooking ideas? Let me know if you make any of these or use courgettes more in your cooking! Also, let me know if you have any other good courgette recipes, I need to try them!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

First three reads of the year - Book Reviews

Last year was the year for me to start reading books again. For ages, I decided that I didn't have enough time and more 'important' activities took up my time. These mainly included watching TV, but now I've decided enough is enough, the TV is off and I am taking some time to start delving into my imagination.
In 2014 I posted a review of three books I'd been reading which I still thoroughly recommend. Already this year I've powered my way through three more books. To be honest I'm not really sure how. I didn't know I could read that fast!
Gingerbread Smiles - Book Review, Zoella, Abigail Haas, Lucie Whitehouse

Gingerbread Smiles - Book Review Zoella, Zoe Sugg, Girl Online

First off let me tell you how lovely the look of the book is. It's hardback (not sure if you can get it in paperback) but not the solid hardback with a flimsy separate cover sheet, no this is almost squidgy, so lovely to hold. Next, the colour and the style is so pretty, it's definitely something you can have on display. The actual story is just a lovely one. It is almost something you'd dream up as a child, maybe play with your dolls taking on the characters. It is a very easy read, suitable for teen and younger, but I really enjoyed it being 23! If you want something that you'll get through in a few days and feel lovely at the end then I suggest this.

Gingerbread Smiles - Book Review, Lucie Whitehouse - Before We Met

This story is a very intriguing one following a woman questioning her husband whilst he isn't around. Snooping to see where he has been and what he is up to. It keeps you wanting to read more as in each chapter she finds something new and more interesting. You are put in her mindset wondering what the hell he is up to! The ending definitely is a good conclusion and provides many answers and lots of action.

Gingerbread Smiles - Book Review, Abigail Haas - Dangerous Girls

Dangerous Girls - Abigail Haas
I bought this after it was recommended by Louise from Confetti Letters and I certainly wasn't disappointed. It wasn't the sort of book I'd have usually read but I really enjoyed it. The story was based around a murder in Aruba that ripped apart a group of friends and was told from the point of view of the girl accused of the murder. It has you questioning all the way through as to what happened, who killed her and what will come next. I can definitely say this is a must-read and I will be getting Abigail's next book, Dangerous Boys!
I have a few books lined up at the moment to read, but do you have any suggestions of what books I should get on my to-read list? Let me know in the comments and link me to any book review posts, I love to read them!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Starters Afternoon Tea Review in Middlesbrough

2014 was the year of the afternoon tea. I think I must have had at least one a month which I definitely didn't complain about. I tried out Betty's Tea Rooms in Northallerton, Let There Be Crumbs in Sunderland and The Vermont Hotel in Newcastle
This year I thought I might try more afternoon tea venues in Teesside rather than venturing elsewhere! The Gazette (our local paper) put together a list of the top 10 places to get afternoon tea in Teesside and me and my mum have decided to try and visit them all. First up was Starters as it is right next door to the cinema and we were off to see Into the Woods.
Starters is a restaurant located in Middlesbrough which previously had another restaurant in Yarm. The idea is that they sell starter size portions of food so that you are able to pick a few. A bit like tapas but better as you can get the Teesside local cuisine of parmo! I'm not sure when Starters began doing afternoon tea as it was a surprise to see them on the top 10 list.
We decided we'd try Starters' afternoon tea after visiting Cineworld to see a film. We were quickly seated and brought our pots of tea.  I'm quite a fan of a strong tea, my favourite being Yorkshire Tea, but this was quite bland and the pots were very small. With an afternoon tea, I like to have unlimited tea, so it was unfortunate that when we asked for more we were presented again with another small teapot which I had to pay extra for.
Afternoon Tea, Starters Middlesbrough Review, Teesside

Afternoon Tea, Starters Middlesbrough Review, Teesside

Afternoon Tea, Starters Middlesbrough Review, Teesside

Afternoon Tea, Starters Middlesbrough Review, Teesside

Afternoon Tea, Starters Middlesbrough Review, Teesside

When we were eventually brought our stand, after around 20 minutes of waiting, we were pleasantly surprised by the look of all the food. I was very excited to tuck in and started with the sandwiches of which there was a selection of ham, prawn mayonnaise, coronation chicken and cheese savoury. They were all really nice and I quickly moved on to my fruit scone. This had been warmed up, so was deliciously squishy. I had mine, like I always do, with butter and jam and it was very yummy.

It was then on to the dessert plate which seemed full of different treats. We weren't made aware of what everything was so we had to guess, taste testing along the way. As we were quite full from the other two plates we took a few of the cakes home. They were all okay but none of them stood out which was a shame as they looked so good.

Overall for £10.95pp, I would say this is a good afternoon tea. I enjoyed the different selection of sandwich fillings, no egg & cress, cucumber or salmon sandwiches which can get boring.  The scone was very lovely, not crumbly and dry like some I've had, and the dessert plate was brilliantly presented. Having said that we've had much better in other venues in terms of the amount of tea served (we need lots of tea!), the taste of desserts and better sandwiches.

Have you visited Starters for afternoon tea? What did you think?
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