Monday, April 24

My Top 10 Lush Products

It's no secret that I have a slight obsession with everything to do with Lush. My bath bomb and bubble bar collection is over flowing and I've recently started exploring more of their skincare and haircare ranges. Today I thought I would share with you ten of my all-time favourite Lush products.   

Lord of Misrule Bath Bomb
My all-time favourite product from Lush which started my love affair with the store has to be Lord of Misrule. When Lush initially released this bath bomb for their Halloween collection back in 2013 I completely fell in love with it. Each year I wait for the collection to launch before stock-piling enough to see me through until the next year. The scent features a spicy blend of patchouli, peppercorn and black pepper, with a subtle hint of vanilla. The masculine notes combined with the soft sweetness are the perfect delight for your senses. The earthy aroma is so calming and relaxing and I love how long this lingers on the skin. 

The Comforter Bubble Bar
Coming in at a close second behind Lord of Misrule, you'll find the supersized bubble bar The Comforter. Crumble under running water to fill your whole bath from top to bottom with velvet soft bubbles. The best part is you can break this up into three or four different baths making this totally worth the price. The bath water turns a vibrant shade of pink which lasts throughout the bath experience as well as the fragrance. The fruity cocktail of cypress oil, bergamot oil and cassis absolute create an uplifting, distinctive scent which is the perfect pick me up after a long day. 

Prince Charming Shower Cream 
The shower cream's from Lush are my ultimate favourite and basically all I use now. My obsession began back in 2015 when the opening of Oxford Street bought with it the Comforter and Lord of Misrule shower creams. They leave a gorgeous long-lasting fragrance on the skin, as well as moisturising and leaving skin feeling super soft. I'm a bit of a sucker for a sweet fragrance so when I first heard about Prince Charming from the Valentines collection I couldn't wait to pick it up. This gorgeous flamingo pink, shimmery cream is fit for royalty. Containing a mixture of marshmallow root, pomegranate juice, and Fair Trade vanilla pod infusion, the scent is truly intoxicating. This feels so luxurious to massage all over the body and energise me for the day ahead! I just wish Lush would make this part of the permanent collection. 

Candy Mountain Bubble Bar 
My favourite product from the Lush Christmas range hands down has to be Candy Mountain. The sweet candy floss and vanilla scent is absolutely mesmerising and lingers on the skin for hours after. When you crumble the bar under running water the texture feels creamy and you only need half a bar to fill you tub with soft, silky bubbles. The bath water turns a soft, pale pink with a gorgeous silvery lustre running through the water without being too overbearing. This product leaves my skin so soft and moisturised afterwards with the only downside being that this is only available seasonally.

Over and Over Bath Bomb

Half ballistic, half bath melt this fruity, aromatic bath treat has shot to the top of my favourites list this year. This little ray of sunshine is filled with cocoa butter, lime and fennel oil with a citrusy kick and shooting out streaks of vibrant pink. It then settles into a bright orange finish carrying the fresh, crisp scent with  it. You can see the swirls of oil on the surface of the water making this highly mositurising and leaving your skin velvet soft.

Tea Tree Water
Tea tree is famous for its many antiseptic qualities and offers a natural solution to help soothe blemished skin and keep it looking clear and refreshed. This toning water can be used throughout the day to keep skin looking fresh as well as being used as a cleanser to remove traces of makeup. With only six essential ingredients, this miracle product is incredible for soothing sensitivity and leaving the skin radiant and revitalised all day long. The grapefruit water is high in vitamins and adds a gentle hint of citrus which helps to remove dirt from the pores without stripping the skin of any natural oils. Juniperberry water is famous for its skin-clearing and oil-controlling properties which help keep skin clean and clear throughout the day. This spray leaves my skin rejuvenated and invigorated and has become my number one handbag staple.

Rub Rub Rub Shower Scrub
When it comes to exfoliating I prefer to use a product with a bit more grit to it as I find this really helps clear my skin. Rub Rub Rub can be used a more gentle scrub on wet skin or as a pre-shower scrub on dry skin. Packed full of mineral rich sea salt and organic lemon juice, this product leaves your skin rejuvenated and silky smooth. I suffer from heat rash quite regularly but I find this scrub has an instant cooling effect with the sea salt providing a natural antiseptic. The best thing about this scrub is that it can also be used as a shampoo to wash, volumise and add shine to your locks whilst leaving a subtle citrus scent fragrance which lingers throughout the day.

Cupcake Face Mask
There is never going to be top lush products that doesn’t feature one of their incredible face masks, let’s be honest. Cue Cupcake the fresh face mask featuring: Rhassoul mud and cocoa powder which give a deep cleanse and draw out any impurities; fresh mint which stimulates and tones skin; and linseed and cocoa butter which softens and moisturises.  Apply a generous layer onto your face and neck and leave for about 15 minutes before moving to leave your sking nourished, soft and smooth. This mask smells good enough to eat with a very strong, distinct scent. If you prefer a more subtle scenting product then I would advise against this one.

Full of Grace Serum Bar
Lush’s first and only facial serum bar is full of natural, fresh ingredients which melt into the skin to enhance the complexion. The bar contains a blend of rose oil, blue camomile oil and calamine powder which calm the skin and control greasiness. The murumuru butter blends perfectly with the oils to hydrate the skin without leaving a greasy residue. All the ingredients used in this bar are key to restoring life back into your complexion, and leaving you with baby soft skin. Suitable for dry, oily or combination skin – I wouldn’t be without this little bar of wonder now.

Charity Pot

I think one of my favourite things about Lush as a retailer and a brand is their dedication to their ethics and moral standing. Their products are free from animal testing, handmade and 100% vegetarian. They often have several campaigns on the go but one that you can always support is charity pot. For every pot purchased 100% of the proceeds (minus VAT) are donated to small organisations focusing on environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights. As well a supporting such fantastic causes, the product itself is one to write home about. For years I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect moisturiser which leaves my skin feeling soft, hydrated and most importantly – not greasy. It absorbs into the skin quickly, leaving no sticky residue and leaves the skin supple and soft. This contains only natural products which are gentle on the skin, with the lack of preservatives making this suitable for all skin types. 

So there we have my top 10 favourite Lush products. Which ones are in your top 10?

Tuesday, April 18

Wonderland at The Mayflower

Wonderland* is a magical adaption of the world famous fairy-tales of Lewis Carroll. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourite stories so I was over the moon when I found out we had been invited to attend the opening night at the Mayflower Theatre alongside Sotonbloggers.

The stage show has been adapted from both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. This production is a story about love, adventure and personal discovery. After sold out international seasons in Tampa, Texas and Tokyo, Wonderland stops at Southampton for 5 days during its 30 venue UK tour. Frank Wildhorn's Wonderland has received multi Grammy, Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations. Packed with 20 musical numbers, this is a show for the whole family to enjoy. 

The story starts with Alice (Rachael Wooding) as a divorced single mother struggling with what to do and how to change. Armed with her daughter Ellie (Naomi Morris) and their shy neighbor Jack (Stephen Webb) they chase the White Rabbit (Dave Willetts) down the rabbit hole and into the midst of Wonderland. Along the way they meet a selection of crazy characters including the Caterpillar (Kayi Ushe), Mad Hatter (Natalie Mcqueen), March Hare (Ben Kerr) and Cheshire Cat (Dominic Owen) who all tell their tales through uplifting original musical medleys. Their world is ruled by the evil Queen of Hearts (Wendi Peters) who Alice, Ellie and Jack must overcome in order to to escape Wonderland and find their way back home. 

The story is an inspirational tale of self discovery, with Alice delivering some knockout performance with her sense of humour adding to the enjoyment of the show. Although I found some of the characters to be overly cheesy and slightly overdone, the entire production was polished with exceptional vocals and costumes to match. The stand out character for me has to be the Mad Hatter. Throughout the production her character development is absolutely brilliant: from absolutely bonkers to fierce and feisty! Her portrayal of both personalities was executed with ease and perfection and the duet of 'This is Who I Am' with Alice completely took my breath away and sent shivers down my spine. 

The modern twist on the story really helped to portray the power of magic in our everyday lives and the small but incredibly talented cast delivered a knockout performance bringing together this unique story. If you love the original story then you probably won't enjoy Wonderland but if your open to the weird and wonderful world of Wonderland you may just fall in love with it. 

Wonderland is showing at the Mayflower from 18th April to the 22nd April with tickets available through the box office or online. 

* Complimentary tickets
* Press pictures provided by Mayflower theatre 
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Wednesday, April 12

30 Countries Before 30

I've never really been a big risk taker in life, in fact I have always played it safe, perhaps even a little boring. After years of battling anxiety, I woke up one day and decided I wasn't going to let it beat me anymore. I went to work just like every other day, except something inside me had changed and I could feel it. That was the day that it all changed. I started my shift just like any other but by the time I had finished, I had made the most impulsive move in my entire life. My friend was due to visit Berlin for a long weekend for her birthday with some friends and less than 12 hours before she was due to leave, I had booked my flights, flung a change of clothes in a bag and we were off. It was one of the best holidays I have been on and started my love affair with the incredible city of Berlin. That trip I got bitten by the travel bug hard and since then I haven't looked back.

At the start of the year I noticed many people taking part in a visiting 12 places in 12 months challenge. Now unfortunately this year my finances don't allow me to attempt anything close to this but after talking the idea through with Gavin, I had decided I wanted to do something fairly similar. That's when I stumbled across the 30 countries before 30 challenge. This was perfect for me, and followed a more suitable and affordable time frame for my lifestyle. With 10 countries already ticked off, and another 3 already booked in for this year, it seems quite an achievable goal. With just under 4 years until the big 3-0 I definitely think this is obtainable. So with that said, let the journey commence. 

🇬🇧 United Kingdom [1/30] Although I'm not totally sure that this counts I still wanted to include it because I think it often gets overlooked. I've made it my mission to explore more of the UK on the weekends where I can't afford a trip abroad. 

🇫🇷 France [2/30] For my 5th birthday my mum took me to Disneyland Paris for my first ever holiday and since then I've been back four times. Gavin has never visited Disneyland so this is high up on our places to re-visit, as well as a weekend away in the city of love.

🇺🇸 USA [3/30] I've actually been lucky enough to visit the States twice now: first to visit Disneyland Florida back when I was 12 and more recently to visit New York to celebrate my graduation. New York City is the most magical place I have ever visited, and I would 100% say this is somewhere everyone needs to visit before they die. 

🇪🇦 Spain [4/30] I’ve been to Spain on several occasions now: from relaxing in Menorca with the family, to partying the night away in Ibiza with one of my best friends. It’s a place that holds so many memories for me and somewhere I could visit again and again.

🇬🇷 Greece [5/30] In 2009 I went on my first holiday without my parents to Crete, it was so much fun that I ended up spending just under two months out there working but mainly partying. Now that I'm a bit older I'd love to go back and explore more of this picturesque country, plus I'm pretty sure visiting Santorini is on everyone's bucket list. 

🇩🇪 Germany [6/30] Its safe to say I left a piece of my heart in Berlin the first time I went. I've now visited three times with a fourth visit in the pipeline and I just can't get enough. Its a place where I feel most at home and I could up-stick and relocate without any hesitation. 

🇭🇺 Hungary [7/30] Hungary was never high up on my list of places to visit, then I stumbled across a super cheap deal and we headed to Budapest for a long weekend last Summer. It is so underrated, there is so much beauty and culture, plus you can pick up a glass of wine in most places for less than a £1!!

🇮🇹 Italy [8/30] Last year me and Gavin went inter-railing around Italy for 10 days. We flew into Naples and out of Venice and visited some places that had been on my bucket list since I was a child. Each city we visited was equally as beautiful as the last full of good food, good company and beautiful scenic views. 

🇩🇰 Denmark [9/30] Scandinavia has always fascinated me so when we picked up cheap flights to Copenhagen in the Ryanair Christmas sale I was ecstatic. The city is full of charm with it its own unique character and typically Danish twists. Everyone should embrace the Danish art of hygge (pronounced hue-guh). 

🇨🇿 Czech Republic [10/30] Prague came recommended to us after how much we loved Berlin and Budapest. I took Gavin here for his birthday this year and although the weather was a bit grey and dreary, it is a relaxed city full of beautiful architecture, history and authentic charm. 

Countries that I want to visit include:
🇦🇹 Austria
🇧🇪 Belgium
🇧🇬 Bulgaria
🇨🇦 Canada 
🇭🇷 Croatia
🇪🇪 Estonia 
🇫🇮 Finland
🇮🇸 Iceland
🇮🇪 Ireland 
🇱🇻  Latvia 
🇲🇦 Morocco 
🇳🇱 Netherlands
🇸🇯  Norway
🇵🇱 Poland
🇵🇹 Portugal 
🇹🇩 Romania
🇸🇰 Slovakia
🇸🇮 Slovenia
🇸🇪  Sweden 
 🇨🇭 Switzerland

This isn't an extensive list of everywhere on my bucket list and I am sure this will change depending on prices and my mood at the time. In the meantime check out my top tips for city breaks to see how I manage to get some of the best deals when booking my city breaks. 

What places are on your bucket list?


Thursday, April 6

Gousto Food Subscription Box

Nowadays people live incredibly busy lives and often you’ll find they don’t have the time, patience or creativity to plan for every single meal in the week. I am guilty of this and although I try my best to meal plan I never stick to it. I am the most indecisive person when it comes to pretty much everything, especially food, so I find it hard to pick what I am having for dinner in advance. When we do our weekly food shop we try and buy as little fresh ingredients as possible to reduce waste. The problem with this is we often have to pop to a shop to pick up a handful of fresh ingredients on the day which is time consuming and can become expensive. 

When I initially discovered Gousto I was really excited to give it a go as this was perfect for us and so convenient. If you don’t know what food subscription boxes are then let me bring you up to speed! Essentially you chose how many recipes and how many servings you would like and they deliver all the ingredients you will need straight to your front door. Don’t worry if there won’t be anyone in to accept delivery because they can deliver to a safe place, with the boxes packed with ice packs and biodegradable wool-cool which keep the food cool for up to 24 hours.

Each week a refreshing new menu of 22 nutritious, healthy recipes are added for you to chose from. There is something for everyone including meat, fish and veggie options, with all recipes offering a well balance measure of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables. Each recipe card contains nutritional information and cooking time as well as a easy to follow, step by step guide. There is virtually no waste as every single ingredient has been pre portioned and clearly labelled for each recipe. Only the finest ingredients are selected; with all the vegetables and meat sourced locally from farms in Lincolnshire and all the meat used is 100% British. 

What excites me the most about these boxes is that they allow you to try different cuisines that you may not normally get a chance to cook at home. Often exotic recipes can contain several ingredients which are expensive or difficult to source. We've come across many authentic recipes that we want to try but the sheer volume of ingredients and the cost to source all of these is just too much for us at the moment. Gousto helps you to discover new dishes, with quick easy recipes, offering a real variety to your diet. 

There are currently 6 boxes available:

- 2 recipes for 2 people £27.49

- 2 recipes for 4 people £41.99
- 3 recipes for 2 people £34.99
- 3 recipes for 4 people £51.99
- 4 recipes for 2 people £41.99
- 4 recipes for 4 people £59.99

You can opt for either one off boxes which you just request when needed or you can sign up to a subscription with the option of weekly, fortnightly or monthly boxes. There is no obligation to sign up to a subscription and you can pause or cancel your membership at any time. Although they only offer portions for either 2 people or 4 people at the moment, this would be so cost efficient for a single person, with enough of each meal to have lunch the next day - BONUS!

Understandably, these boxes aren't going to be financially viable for everyone but I find this is the a healthy, delicious replacement for eating out or having a take away for virtually the same price. Keep an eye on their website as they often have voucher codes so you can sample your first box for half the price to see if this concept is for you!
Have you tried any food subscription boxes?

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