Monday, 18 August 2014

A Body Shop haul

Hello all! I don't like to start a post with a grovelling apology but I feel as though I owe it to those of you who take the time to check out my little corner of the internet.

As I've mentioned previously working full time and blogging doesn't always go hand in hand but this past month or so has been a little more crazier than usual... I won't talk work for too long but last Friday I left the weekly newspaper I've worked at for two years, as I've been offered a job at one of the dailies in the same company. On top of the job changeover, work was non-stop as ever. Oh and I even had the opportunity to interview the Prime Minister. Sorry, I had to drop that in there! ;) So now am I forgiven?

Anyway enough of my blabbering and grovelling... Time for some beauty!

I'm sure you were expecting a (belated) July favourites from me but if I'm honest, drawing up a July favourites list was a tricky one as I could only really think of two products that truly deserved a mention and I didn't want to force a post, so instead look out for a July/August favourites post in the coming weeks! So instead this post is centered around a little splurge I had in the Body Shop recently.

In recent months I've noticed the Body Shop garnering a real following in the blogging community. I know it's one of those shops that's been on our high street for years but I've never really given it too much thought until recently.

This splurge features a combination of skincare, body and even, a homeware product! Here are my (early) thoughts on my purchases.

Body Butter in Papaya - £13

As I'm sure most of you are aware, you can be stood like a kid in a candy shop trying to choose which Body Shop Body Butter you're going to leave the store with due to the immense choice available. On this occasion I opted for Papaya, simply because the scent screamed summer to me. It smells light, fruity and refreshing. Post use, I'm left smelling delicious and my skin is left hydrated and supple.

Vitamin E Eye Cream - £11

I've been after a good eye cream for quite some time as I suffer with dark under eye circles. While perusing the shelves I spotted this and thought I'd give it a whirl as I'd heard many a rave review on the Vitamin E range. Sadly I haven't found this to be overly effective for me. I've been using this daily and after a couple of weeks I haven't noticed a reduction in my dark under eye circles. I will persevere nonetheless and let you know if I notice an improvement.

Vitamin E Face Mist - £8.50

My friend/product enabler Clare swears by this stuff, so on her recommendation I had to pick up a bottle of this. It claims to be "instantly refreshing" and a "moisture boost". I have to say it is refreshing and has been welcome during the slighter warmer days of our British summer. It's great for this time of year and brilliantly I'm off to Italy later this week on holiday, so I'm sure this will serve me well over there!

Elderflower Unperfumed Eye Gel - £7

This is a lovely boost for tired eyes. Cooling and refreshing, a dab of this under each eye will certainly wake you up and revive you after a long day. The jar is perfect to pop in your bag on days when you know you'll be out for longer than usual.

Facial Massager - £6

I'm yet to try this but was intrigued after reading Grace from TGG's glowing reviews of this tool. This massager has a nodular design to ensure an in-depth massage of the skin without dragging or damaging the skin tissue. You roll this in gentle upward movements across your face, after your nightly skincare routine. The massage is supposed to help stimulate circulation, improving the skin's natural radiance, and encourage better absorption of moisturiser. I will keep you posted on how I get on with this.

Mandarin and Tangelo Body, Room and Linen Spritz - £7

I love citrus scents and this is no exception. I've only used this as a room and linen spray, and it's proved to be a good purchase. After a spritz or two, the room smells lovely and fresh, without overpowering your nostrils. Lovely!

Thanks for reading folks, I now have my sights set on trying the Body Shop's Camomile range in the near future! What's your favourite Body Shop range?

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Monday, 14 July 2014

Smoke Stop - An American style smokehouse in Shropshire

So last week my mum decided to book us all a table at Shropshire's newest (and first I believe?) smokehouse Smoke Stop, as we hadn't gone out for some food together as a family for a while and with us all being fans of a good smokehouse, we thought we'd give it a try.

Newly opened this month, Smoke Stop appears to be Shropshire's way of getting its BBQ ribs and pulled pork fix.

Smoke Stop - formerly English country pub Ye Olde Cross Gates Inn, is in Ford, a village just outside of Shrewsbury.

Prior to our meal last Thursday evening, we'd heard lots of social media chatter about this long-awaited smokehouse and we were all excited to see whether Smoke Stop's excellent sounding menu could materialise into mouth-watering Man v. Food style epic goodness.

From burgers and brisket to ribs and root beer, this place has a menu you can't help but read in Adam Richman from Man v. Food's voice because everything sounds larger than life and calorific, which is what you expect from a smokehouse.

To kick off proceedings, like any good American style smokehouse we were served a small helping of popcorn to see us through to our mains.


I ordered the Notorious P.I.G (great name) - a quarter pounder beef burger, topped with their smoked BBQ pulled pork, streaky smoked bacon and Monterey jack cheese. All of their beef burgers are served with lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles, in a brioche bun, with skin-on fries and their deep south 'slaw. Now I'm not gonna hold back here... this was the best burger I've ever ordered at a restaurant. It was incredible, the smoked BBQ pulled pork and streaky bacon was a mouth-watering delight, oozing with smoky flavour. Now as incredible as the burger was, the real part of any smokehouse meal that matters to me is the 'slaw. I expect nothing less than a creamy, tasty 'slaw and did I get that at Smoke Stop? OH YES. It was superb. The fries were also tasty. All in all, this was the mightiest meal I've had in some time, so mighty I couldn't finish it all but trust me, me being unable to finish the meal was no reflection on it whatsoever.

The Notorious P.I.G.

My brother also ordered the same as me, except he opted for sweet potato fries, which were really delicious.

My mum went for the Snoop Doggy Dog (definite rap theme going on here) - a hotdog consisting of their home smoked pork sausages, topped with beef chilli, melted cheese, crunched up nachos, jalapeƱos and sour cream. The hotdog was also served with skin-on fries and 'slaw. Mum really enjoyed her meal but was slightly disappointed as the hotdog was missing the chilli and cheese, which was the main reason she chose the meal.

The Snoop Doggy Dog.

Finally, dad went for the Smokin' Joe King's Special - which comprised two beef patties, American cheese, smoked bacon, jalapeƱos, pickles and topped with beer battered onion rings, also served with the skin-on fries and 'slaw. Now I thought my meal was mighty, this was something else, this was the Godzilla of burgers! Dad really enjoyed his meal, and I've got to say the onion rings were excellent!

The Smokin' Joe King's Special.

Overall the verdict is a good one, I would recommend Smoke Stop to anyone. From families to couples, to groups of friends. This place has a fun yet relaxed atmosphere, with a friendly, accommodating group of staff. The portion sizes are also very good for a decent price.

A word of caution however for the couples out there - if you're at the early stage of your relationship I'd suggest giving your order some consideration - this is messy business! Although, it could prove an ice-breaker so maybe risk it if you're feeling brave!

Another plus I must mention - I was unfortunately the designated driver for the evening but mum ordered a fabulous looking and tasting mojito!

One fine looking mojito!

My only gripes were the lack of chilli and cheese with mum's meal and as we went to order desserts, we were told the kitchen was all out. Now the dessert menu looks utterly excellent, so of course we were disappointed but the staff apologised profusely and in fairness, we were ordering after 9pm, so that's our fault for being latecomers!

All in all, based on our experience last week, Shropshire's newest smokehouse deserves all the buzz it's getting, I suggest you book you, your friends, your family, and anyone you love for that matter a table here! I will certainly be making a return!

To check out the website and their menu, click here.

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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

June favourites

No introduction required surely? You know the drill. New month = last month's most reached for and loved products, here goes:

Dior Forever Flawless Perfection Fusion Wear Foundation - £32

This is a gorgeous product and my most reached for base throughout June, an odd choice really. Why you ask? Well it's a full coverage foundation for a start, and personally I prefer a light to medium coverage. Also, a full coverage foundation during the summer months, Naomi what are you playing at? But despite it being full coverage, this does not wear heavy on the skin at all. No cakeyness, just a natural looking, velvety finish. Also a perfect colour match for me, I use the shade 011, which I think is the lightest or next shade up. A lovely product and the kind of quality you would expect from Dior!

Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in Bikini-tini - £15.50

Yes, I know this appeared in my May favourites post but this continued to serve me well throughout June. It adds that bit of something to every look and the reason it's made another favourites post is because I discovered another use of this already perfect product... Its champagney, gold colour means it can be used as a highlighter at the top of your cheekbones! Try it, you'll thank me later!

Origins Make a Difference Plus+ Rejuvinating Moisturiser - £34.50

This stuff has solved a lot of my skincare woes. I don't want to speak too soon but this could well be a lifetime favourite, not just a monthly favourite. At the start of June my skin was suffering, not only from a minor breakout but it was also pretty dehydrated. However between this and Origins' Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask (I will get to this next) - they've been a total godsend for me. This divine smelling moisturiser, featuring Nature's Rose of Jericho, plus a Lychee and Watermelon hydra-sustain complex claims to quench deep to help add moisture to dry, dehydrated skin. That it does and despite its lovely scent, it does not irritate my skin in the slightest. At the start of the month my skin was looking lacklustre to say the least, however using this product daily has ensured my skin is looking and feeling hydrated throughout the day. Thumbs up for this!

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask - £23

Another June skincare saviour, as mentioned above. This is my first dabble with an overnight mask and my word, I will never look back. I used this once a week during June and each time I woke up with my skin appearing healthier and plump, and just looking better overall. I apply this fairly thickly after my Avene Soothing Hydrating Serum, and use this in place of my moisturiser. Overnight my skin "drinks it up" - as the name suggests. At first this is fairly sticky but don't be put off, it sinks in easily after a few minutes. Another bonus is its delightful, fruity smell - which is obviously down to it containing avocado oil, mango butter and apricot kernel oil. These ingredients also help to deeply hydrate the skin. I will review this product by itself in the near future, as it has worked wonders on my skin.

Batiste Dry Shampoo Dark & Deep Brown - £3.99

If you would've told me a few months back that a dry shampoo would make one of my favourites posts I would have probably laughed in your face. It's taken me a long time to feel comfortable with the idea of dry shampoo and June was the month when I actually became okay with it, well in fact more than okay. During June, I used this on a number of occasions as a hair texturiser more than anything. It added a bit of body to my hair, when it started to look a little lacklustre (new favourite word, can't you tell?) and it made all the difference, and added that necessary bit of 'oomph' to my locks.

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Saturday, 5 July 2014

The one where we went chocolate making.

My name's Naomi and I'm a chocoholic.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm a total fiend for chocolate. Be it dark, milk, white, mint, orange, accompanied with peanut butter, you name it, I adore it, and despite thinking I was the ultimate chocoholic, I think I've been pipped to the post with that title...

I think my boyfriend actually loves chocolate more than I do... If that's even possible? Despite the idea of someone loving chocolate more than I do seeming a crazy notion, it's great because it meant I didn't have to wrack my brains too much when deciding what to get him for his birthday this year...  I decided to book for us in to take part in a chocolate making workshop as part of his birthday present.

So the weekend before last we spent the afternoon chocolate making in Manchester. The chocolate making workshop we went to was run by a company called My Chocolate

Having a whale of a time being a chocolatier for the afternoon!

My Chocolate host events for entertainment, team building, hen parties and birthdays and gift experiences, in London, Manchester and Brighton. The company uses only organic chocolate in their workshops. All ingredients are provided as part of the workshop, including all samples to try, as well as added extras to add your own personal touch to the chocolate you make, such as coconut and white chocolate flakes, and strawberry curls.

Our workshop was called The Original Chocolate Making Workshop, where we were given a basic introduction into chocolate making by a chocolatier, dscovering the process from bean to bar. Great... but really you want to get to the actual fun stuff don't you, you want to know what goodies we got to make and devour right?

We made a personalised giant chocolate button each. Then after a demonstration from the chocolatier, it was once again our turn to get stuck in. We made our own handmade dark chocolate ganache truffles, dusted in cocoa powder. SO messy but SO fun!

Some of our handmade truffles.

At the start of the workshop I think the aim was for us to make around 15 to 20 truffles, however that didn't really work out for us... We made 6 in total. A pitiful effort from us but it was an entertaining one and amused everyone else at the workshop. Once finished we packaged our chocolates in ribbon tied boxes to take home with us.

(Haha) Looking proud as punch with the finished product all boxed up.

Throughout the duration of the workshop we got to try all manner of chocolate samples, including raw cocoa nibs (bitter!), dark, milk, and a number of excellent concoctions such as creamy milk chocolate orange and popping candy, as well as cherry chocolate, fudge, etc.

The real sampling delight for me though was a truly superb slab of chocolate called Gianduja. Gianduja is a chocolate spread containing hazelnut paste. It was invented in Turin, Italy, during Napolean's reign, when the Mediterranean was under a blockade by the British. At that time, a chocolatier called Michele Prochet increased the little amount of chocolate he had, by mixing it with hazelnuts. I found this story utterly fascinating because it's hard to believe something so delicious was created out of those kind of circumstances!

All in all, we had a brilliant time and I thoroughly recommend this as a gift idea for the chocolate lover in your life. It's something a little different and memorable. Visit My Chocolate to find out more about their experience workshops and events.

Have you ever gifted someone a gift experience as a birthday/Christmas present or have you even taken part in one? Did you enjoy it?

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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Review of Eucerin DermoPURIFYER Cleanser

Recently my skin has been somewhat more oil-prone than usual, I'm not entirely sure why but this oily spell came at a time when Escentual were offering bloggers the opportunity to try out a cleanser targeted at tackling oily skin, so of course I jumped at the chance to give it a whirl.

What arrived in the post a few days later was Eucerin's DermoPURIFYER Cleanser (RRP £9). I must admit what first struck me about the product was how 'basic' the packaging looked, superficial I know. However, on further reading up on Eucerin, I soon realised this wasn't a brand you buy for how its packaging looked but rather its effective results. Eucerin claims to be 'the dermatologist-recommended skincare brand based on honest skin science' that contains 'active ingredients' in order to create high quality, effective products.

This soap and fragrance free, gel type cleanser works by removing excess sebaceous-gland lipids and reduces growth of bacteria, while gently removing make-up and dirt.

I've been using this product for the past month now every night before going to bed and I can honestly say this product does remove make-up and dirt effectively, while being extremely gentle on the skin. I lather it with water, which creates a  gentle foam.

Alongside the cleanser, I have stuck to my usual skincare routine which comprises of a micellar water before this cleanser, then followed up by a serum and moisturiser.

Post use I like how my skin feels, it leaves my skin thoroughly cleansed and feeling soft, and I have noticed a reduction in my skin's oiliness.

Those of you who suffer with oil-prone skin I can't recommend this enough and until June 30, Escentual is offering up to a 1/3 off French Pharmacy brands, so what are you waiting for?

Alongside this cleanser, Escentual also kindly send me an array of other goodies and two that I'm looking forward to trying is Eucerin's Even Brighter Day and Night creams. I will have to let you know how I get on with those.

Have you tried any Eucerin products before? Were they effective for you?

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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

My (uber belated) May favourites

I know, I know it's June 18th and I'm posting my May favourites. Poor effort from me but number one -working full time and blogging doesn't always go hand in hand, number two - my laptop went in for repair this month and number three - my OCD just wouldn't allow me to miss a monthly favourites post! Oh and Alix from I Covet Thee only posted her May favourites the other day, so it must be acceptable! *wink Emoji*

So now I've done my explaining, I shall proceed with what beauty products in particular I enjoyed using throughout May. This is a slightly smaller favourites post than usual but as we get into the summer months, I try to use as little amount of products as possible... Nobody likes a hot mess!

Right, enough rambling, here are the products:

Clarins The Essentials Eye Make-Up Palette - £35

Ah, The Essentials Palette, or as I lovingly dub it: "the Naked Palette's older, more sophisticated sister". This came out last winter and I've tried my hardest to play down my love for this palette because I know it's going to end in tears...You see it's sadly limited edition and I don't think you can purchase this anymore *Sob*. On the surface this palette looks like your standard neutral eye palette but trust me it's so much more than that. This 10 shade palette is just divine, I adore the Naked Palettes I do, but this palette is just so much more chic, due to its sophisticated array of (mostly) metallic shades. All shades are extremely wearable day or night. I'm a shimmery eye shadow girl but I've got to say I even love the two matte shades here which is unlike me.

Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow - £15.50

Another neutral, metallic eye product Naomi, really? Yes really. Throughout May I reached for this little beauty, whether I was wearing this alone all over the lid or as a base for other eye shadows. It's a lovely product and the colour is gorgeous too. It's a champagney, gold colour with a frosted finish. This lasts all day on me. Lovely, lovely.

Superdrug Coconut Oil - £2.29

I picked this up from my local Superdrug in May after noticing Coconut Oil was doing the rounds in the blogging community and I decided I wanted in on the action! Despite Coconut Oil being renowned for being an excellent multi-use product I've only used it on the ends of my hair so far, post wash. It's keeping my ends looking, feeling and smelling great, and I'm hoping it delays my next trip to the hairdressers by at least another fortnight! Another added perk, it's cheap as chips!

Barry M's Hi Shine Gel Effect Nail Paint in Lychee - £3.99

I don't need to say too much about this product surely? If you're a regular reader of my blog you'll have seen this Nail Polish formula and this particular shade appear in a number of my posts. I painted my nails in Lychee a number of times in May. Overall, I love the formula, it leaves my nails looking glossy and it remains chip-free for a good number of days, and I love the colour, it's a highly wearable nude-grey.

That was short and sweet but it's good to be back. I've got plenty of ideas lined up for upcoming posts, including some venturing into new Better Ni than Never territory... It won't all be beauty, look out for some fashion posts and maybe even a non-beauty favourites post soon! Thanks for reading!

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Monday, 2 June 2014

Brand focus: Forever Living facial regime

Yesterday was my four month "blogiversary", however I've been avidly reading beauty blogs for a number of years now and I find the more I get into blogging, the more interested I become in finding the perfect skincare routine to suit my skin.

If you're a regular reader of mine, you may remember I reviewed the Forever Living Aloe Scrub just over a month ago and I'd also mentioned that I'd been given the opportunity to trial out a few other Forever Living products and as promised, I said I would report back my fndings.

I was kindly given a facial kit which consisted of an Aloe Hand and Face Soap (RRP £10.84), the Aloe Scrub (RRP £12.92), the Aloe Activator (RRP £11.53), the Mask Powder (RRP £16.43) and the Aloe Moisturising Lotion (RRP £12.24).

In order to get the best out of the products, you are advised to follow the following routine two to three times a week:

The instructions were as follows, wash your face with the Aloe Hand and Face Soap, use the Aloe Face Scrub, mix the Activator with the Powder to create a face mask, and finally moisturise with the Aloe Moisturising Lotion.

I followed this routine twice weekly for a month, which I feel gave me enough time to get a feel for the products and discover whether they were right for me. I will give you my verdict on each product individually.

First up is the Aloe Hand and Face Soap. I must admit I had my reservations into using the same product on my hands and face, and I was right to. As a hand soap, it's rich and moisturising, and left my hands clean and smelling lovely. However, as a facial cleanser, it just didn't suit my skin. It was a little heavy for my sensitive skin and broke me out for a number of days afterwards. This product is highly concentrated with aloe, which is probably what contributed to the breakout.

Next up is the Aloe Scrub, which I won't go into too much depth on as I reviewed this on its own in April, if you haven't seen that post already, check it out here. This is a lovely product that changed my negative outlook on using facial scrubs. It isn't harsh or gritty on my skin. After use, I'm left with bright and awakened looking skin. My favourite product of the bunch!

Now for the time consuming part of the routine, which comes in the form of the face mask, which is the Aloe Activator and the Mask Powder used in conjunction with one another. I've got to say despite this part of the process taking the longest, the results are worth the wait. To create the mask, mix one teaspoon of Mask Powder with one teaspoon of the Aloe Activator until the mixture has the consistency of a lotion. You then apply to your face and neck, before relaxing for 30 minutes, then removing and rinsing with warm water. The mask left my skin feeling soft but also tightened. Post use, I felt like I was unveiling a bright, new face. An added bonus of the Mask Powder for me, was that it contains Chamomile, which soothes and calms sensitive skin. I did get a little fidgety having to wait for 30 minutes but in fairness I was impressed with the results.

The Activator can also be used alone as a cleanser or freshener with cotton pads, however I didn't feel as though it did as much for my skin by itself, so I continued to use it with the Mask Powder.

The final step in the Forever Living facial regime was the Aloe Moisturising Lotion, which contains collagen and elastin, which keeps skin soft and smooth. This is a face and body moisturiser, and personally I preferred using this on my body rather than face. I found it too thick to use on my face. However on my arms, legs and the rest of my body, it left my skin in tip-top condition. I must also add I rather liked the product's scent - which I thought was a slight "banana-ish" smell... Maybe my nostrils were confused but I liked it all the same!

Overall, these are a good set of products and being fairly multi-use, if they didn't work for me one way, they certainly did another way. My quest for the perfect skincare routine is still ongoing but individually these are good products.

The products can be purchased at or from your local independent distributor for Forever Living, mine is Susan Boag and her site can be found at

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