Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Carey's Manor Hotel Senspa, New Forest

To celebrate my mum's birthday, I organised a spa day at Carey's Manor Hotel's SenSpa in Brockenhurst, New Forest. I booked the Wellbeing Spa Day which included full use of the spa facilities, a choice of classes, and most importantly: breakfast and a two course Thai lunch. While this Wellbeing Spa Day - starting from £95 - includes all of these amenities, you are in fact required to book at least one treatment which increases the overall price. I decided the SenProtect & Repair Facial sounded most appealing. This facial in particular uses vitamins C and E which are said to 'restore youthfulness'. 

I'd love to be able to tell you more about the facial but there are more important matters to address, like for example, the Thai noodles I ate for lunch. I've actually forgotten what it said on the menu (and forgot to take a photo due to excitement) but what I will say is that there is no doubt in my mind that the chef was a real-life angel sent from heaven, and despite the fact that it's been a few weeks since our visit, I'm still in a perpetual state of awe over the meal's greatness and I'm also still so grateful for 1) his existence and 2) his skills. If you're reading this, please take a moment of silence to thank God for gracing this earth with chefs. If you're reading this and you're a chef, congratulations you've made it in life.


This was mum's starter: a concoction of noodles, bean sprouts and vegetables. It was tasty but very onion-y; 'onion' and 'spa day' do not bode well, especially when, after consuming these aforementioned onions, you have a facial planned. A facial which involves face-to-face contact (close proximity), where you'll be spending around 60 minutes breathing into a Thai beautician's face.

These are the blessed noodles. Not very pleasing to the eye but what it lacked in pleasing me visually, it more than made up for taste-wise.

This was my dessert: green tea ice-cream. I was pretty sceptical at first but thought I'd give it a try and I'm so glad I did. I'm a big fan of green tea anyway and now I'm a big fan of green tea ice cream. Green tea.

The Hydra Pool was great and was something I'd never really experienced before.

The facial was excellent and the products they use are all natural - I walked out of the treatment room smelling like a strawberry!

The spa supplies you with a free robe, the comfiest (but ugliest) shoes you'll ever wear and unlimited towels. Overall, I really enjoyed the day and, if it was a little cheaper, I'd go back more often. I would thoroughly recommend visiting the spa, however would advise booking a weekday as I'm sure it would be a lot quieter, which would contribute to a more relaxing atmosphere and a better experience.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Flower Pressing: Final Stages

I used to love creating things when I was about 7 but rarely do I have the time to make leaf-kingdoms for pet caterpillars (yes, I actually made these once upon a time) mud potions and sticker books, so nowadays I make do with flower pressing!

I went to trusty TK Maxx about a week ago and found the frames I'd been searching for for a while. I specifically wanted dark brown wood and managed to find just one big frame. After scrambling around in search for another, I successfully found a smaller version - ideally I'd have liked two of the same size but I told myself I'd have to make do! 

Measure and cut the white card to fit the frame and then rearrange your flowers to make a pretty picture and stick onto the aforementioned card. 

Once I was pleased with the arrangement, I stuck the flowers onto the card with PVA glue using a pastry basting brush (both silicone and bristle work equally as well), and then left the arrangements to dry. 

I'm really pleased with the outcome and the below picture doesn't do it justice! Many of the flowers were picked from my nonna's garden and so the pictures are really meaningful which I love.

This is a cheap DIY project and it's also a lot of fun too, no matter how old you are!

For a how-to on flower pressing, click here

Sunday, 5 July 2015

EBB & Flow | Winchester Hat Fair

On Saturday, I went to EBB and Flow for lunch with two of my friends. Considering the sun was out and it was pay day weekend, we were expecting it to be a lot busier. We arrived and it was surprisingly quiet so managed to get seating straight away with only a short wait for the food. 

We ordered a juice each and they came in the grandest jars, I opted for the Energy Boost which was banana and strawberry blended with orange juice. It was so good but despite the jars being gigantic, the amount of ice made it seem like there was a lot more juice (you can't fool me EBB!) which was a bit disappointing because at £2.95, it hardly filled a whole glass. 

Both Beth and I opted for a breakfast because "we love breakfast food!!". I ordered eggs hollandaise and Beth ordered the breakfast muffin - I did take a photo but it didn't do her order justice. We both finished our meal in about 10 minutes with Beth exclaiming "that didn't even touch the sides" (ha ha ha ha ha ha my favourite kind of person) so as amazing as the food was, we did regret not buying any side orders! Word of advice: if you opt for a breakfast-style meal and you're super hungry, just buy some damn chips too. Jess ordered the flat bread and some sweet potato fries (she had the right idea) and it went down really well. 

Winchester Hat Fair took place over the weekend so mum and I went down and partook in a little purse-party (spending lots of money, out of our purses) today (Sunday). I love the bustling streets of Winchester, although I do wish shoppers would walk only slightly faster than their usual speed of about 0.1 mph. I hate to moan but I really do feel as though shopping areas should organise itself like a motorway - with a slow lane and a fast lane - to avoid further aggravation on my part. 

I wore really comfy dungarees and bought two new books, so today has been a great day! 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Bronzing with Chanel

It's been absolutely ages since I last blogged, but seeing as the UK is about to be hit by a heatwave (can I get a woopwoop), I thought it would be appropriate to write about a product which makes achieving a natural summer glow so easy! 

I don't like wearing make-up when the weather is hot, and sometimes find my tinted moisturiser too sticky and dewy for warmer temperatures. I haven't worn foundation for a good month and my skin has been so grateful for it - it hasn't sought revenge in the form of breakouts! Could this possibly my skin's way of thanking me for not suffocating it with unnecessary lotions and potions? 

I bought the Soleil Tan De Chanel after reading some great reviews but unless you want to walk out of the door looking like an original oompa loompa, I would suggest you steer clear of this bronzing make-up base. Unfortunately, I'm not a fan and had to return it. Perhaps I'm applying it wrong but the colour itself is far too pigmented for my liking and I hate feeling 'fake'. There are two ways to apply it: to highlight cheekbones or it can be combined with a little moisturiser to create a tinted moisturiser. Considering it's loved by so many, I was disappointed that it didn't work as well but the end result was far (far far far) from the natural look I wanted. 

I bought the next product on a complete whim. To be completely honest, the flower pattern was my sole reason for purchasing - have you ever seen a powder look this pretty? - but the colour itself is lovely once applied to the skin. There are so many bronzers out there and they're all heavily pigmented with orange or dark brown tones, but this one is so subtle. 

The flower no doubt will slowly fade but if you're looking for something that sits lightly on the skin, a powdered bronzer is probably best. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Rancho, Southampton

To celebrate my mum and dad's 25th wedding anniversary, a big group of family headed to Rancho in Southampton. I looked at the menu beforehand and thought the prices were ridiculously expensive but with food that tastes so good, it just shows that often you pay for what you get. This was some of the nicest tasting food I've ever had when eating out. 

The only (the only) downfall was the hour long wait for the food, but the quality more than made up for it. I think waiting for the food makes you appreciate it more and when it eventually arrived I ate every single thing that sat on my plate in approximately 9 minutes. 

I opted for the Adobo Chicken with chips (sat in a bowl beside this plate) and spinach. I really love wilted spinach and I don't know what seasoning they use but the chicken was so so so sooo good. I forgot to take a picture before I started eating, so the original portion of chicken is a lot bigger than you can see in the photo. Rancho is a renowned steakhouse but I'm not really a fan of steak. However according to everyone else, it was 'the best steak they've ever had'

The picture below doesn't really appeal to me but I wanted to show you how big the pieces are, and most dishes come with salad and chips. 

I will definitely be going back because the food can't be faulted whatsoever.

43-45 High Street, Southampton

Thursday, 28 May 2015

The Olive Tree, Romsey

I think finding new places to visit is always a lot of fun and I've been meaning to go to this little pub-restaurant for a while now, so I put on jeans and a shirt and headed for lunch with my lovely friend! We're fast approaching June and the weather is still disappointing, so we opted to sit inside; we were surrounded by low ceilings, books and candles which created a really nice atmosphere.

We ordered a Club Tree Sandwich (toasted bread, chicken, bacon, tomato, egg mayonnaise and lettuce) each and went for fries. The chips were some of the nicest chips I've ever tasted and the sandwich was so good. The chefs aren't afraid to pack it with as much as they can  (super value!) which meant I had bacon and sauce falling out of the sandwich as I ate...but no one was watching as I acted like a complete animal so I carried on. 

The waitress brought us water with lemon and ice which was a nice touch and if you request sauces, they come in little pots with spoons which was lovely! It doesn't take much to please me! 

Overall I was really happy with the great service and the fab food so I recommend going if you're searching for a new place to dine at. 

There's a car park close by - about a 1 minute walk away - and it's £1.50 to park for 2 hours.

The Olive Tree, Romsey | 11 Latimer Street SO51 8DF

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

A Utility Skirt & Frill

Recently I've been buying clothes that I know will last me a really long time, as opposed to buying something I know I'll only wear once. My friend Nadia would always come round and rummage through my wardrobe and she'd always say 'this has a tag in it still...another tag...have you even worn this?' and my answers would always be 'yep...yep...mmm, no'. I managed to get a job a week after my 16th birthday and thought it was always a really good idea to buy things and then wear them only once - a terrible habit that I've learnt to overcome (3 years later...). 

I really love neutral shades and thought this skirt from Warehouse looked real comfy but also quite classic. It's a bit of an odd design because there's no lining and, if the D-ring came loose and the clasp unclasped, the skirt becomes a skirt NO MORE - it's essentially a piece of material you wrap around and secure at the front. I love that D-rings are a trend at the moment and I love that this one is a rusty gold. 

I'd been after a white off the shoulder frill top for a while, but didn't want to buy a cropped one as I wanted to pair it with trousers and jeans -  luckily I came across a longer one from Warehouse.

Louie always has to get involved - he's mastered the 'one leg in front' pose...

Top: Warehouse 
Skirt: Warehouse
Shoes: Topshop (from a few years ago!)

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Essie Limo-scene

Hola amigos, I've found the perfect nail varnish so thought I'd dedicate a post to it! I've always taken extra great care when it comes to my nails and biting them has, luckily, never been a habit. Instead, I make up for it by cramming my mouth with food - a tastier and more satisfying alternative in my opinion. I think painted nails can make a huge difference in how you go about your day, and this shade leaves hands looking clean and cared for! I've fallen in love with a new nail varnish and it's a classic manicure shade called limo-scene. I love nude varnishes and think they look really cool and tidy. I've written about a cheaper alternative in another post and at £7.99 for a measly 13.5ml bottle, you may need to take out a loan...but the colour is lovely and it doesn't tend to chip!

What I'm listening to: Florence + The Machine - Ship To Wreck 

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Apple Roses

I absolutely love flowers and I absolutely love food, so after my mum stumbled across an easy peasy recipe video online, we decided to recreate the prettiest puff pastry puddings!

This was our first attempt and one vital lesson learnt and the toppest tip of all top tips I can give to you is to ensure the apple slices are super thin. If the slices are cut thinly, they will be more pliable; the bendier the apples = the prettier the roses. 

I found so many recipes that all require numerous ingredients and utensils, but with a quick attempt came an elimination of unnecessary bowls, sugar and flour. We used the bare minimum and the process worked really well with barely any washing up to do and great results to show for it. 

You will need:

Puff pastry sheets (the ready rolled kind is fuss free and so easy to work with!)
2 apples
1 lemon
Icing sugar dusting (optional)


Butter a cake tray 

Cut the apple into thin slices and place either in a bowl or onto a dish

Other recipes told us to soak in lemon water, but instead we just squeezed lemon juice over the slices - easy peasy lemon squeezaaay

Open your Jus-Rol puff pastry sheets and cut into sections. Don't worry about having to place the sheets onto a surface sprinkled with flour, just use the sheet of paper wrapped around the pastry sheet as a surface

Place the apple slices onto each individual sliced sheet 

Sprinkle with the hero-spice that is cinnamon (I LOVE cinnamon) 

You can sprinkle a little bit of sugar too if you want them to taste sweeter 

Turn the bottom of the sheet half way over the sliced apple

...and roll

Leave in the oven for about 25-30 minutes on a low heat, then sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar

TA-DAH! Edible roses! And you won't feel guilty either because apples count as part of your 5-a-day... 

Inspiration just in time for a Sunday baking day!