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Restaurant Review – The Stable, Bristol

I’ve had a lovely yet tiring day with my class on a visit to Hampton Court Palace. It was really stunning although I don’t feel like doing much more than eating my dinner and watching some TV this evening!

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Last weekend, Ian and I took a little trip to Bristol to meet some friends for lunch. We wanted somewhere central and casual and so I suggested The Stable along the Harbourside. There is one of these restaurants in Bath too and I love their specialities of pizza, pie and cider. It turns out it was the perfect option for our group as we wanted a long lunch and somewhere baby-friendly.

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There was such an impressive list of local ciders we decided the only way to taste as many as possible was to order a couple of their tasting boards. Although there were a few gross ones, it was lovely to try a variety of sweet and dry ciders and perries.

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We all opted for their speciality pizzas and it was great to see so many local ingredients and references to Bristol and the South West in their menu! I had the special which was topped with roasted chicken, field mushrooms, mozzarella and a tarragon cream – a rather unique combination but one that was bursting with flavour from the tarragon.

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Ian went rather off-piste too and ordered ‘The Avonmouth Angler’ – a fishy pizza that included smoked mackerel, smoked salmon, spinach and mozzarella. I’m not sure I’m a convert but he loved it!

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Nothing ground-breaking here but who can say no to a good pizza and cider?! x

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Beauty Review – May Birchbox

I’m a bit late reviewing this month’s box but it’s another good’un so better late than never!

My first thought when I opened the box was that it had a really cool design on it but was a bit plain…I soon realised why and how it linked into this month’s creative theme of ‘Free Your Mind’. Here was my first peek inside:

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The ‘little something extra’ in the box this month was a pack of colouring pencils, allowing you to personalise the lid of your box (there’s a mini competition running on this too). Adult colouring books are having a moment so this concept feeds in really well to that idea of making some time for yourself. I am currently into cross stitching to unwind in the evening so I’m not sure I will colour in my box but I do like the idea behind it.

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Right, onto the beauty items! I love a good hair mask and this one from Number 4 looks lovely. The Lumiere d’hiver Reconstructing Masque contains some amazing ingredients and is designed to leave your hair smooth, strengthened and shiny.

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Next a nail varnish from Wah London, a brand I am hearing more and more about after discovering their nail art. There was an option to receive a nail varnish, nail art pen or press on nails and I’m glad I got to try out one of their polishes. I had the shade The Blue Room, a vibrant yet slightly creamy coloured blue. I have just bought a similar shade so kind of wish I had another colour but that’s not their fault so I will give this a go and report back.

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A brand whose skincare I really like, I received a Caudalie tinted moisturiser. I am a big fan of these in the summer when you don’t want to wear too heavy a base on your face and this comes with a good SPF which is always a bonus. Unlike most other formulas, this smells amazing and the coverage isn’t bad either.

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I always welcome a face mask and this one from Absolution looks and smells lovely. It is called the Youth Activator Mask so sounds as though it is aimed at my skin type and aims to add a burst of moisture.

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Next a product that I wasn’t that excited about but Ian will definitely use – Parlor’s Moisturising Sea Salt Spray. I just don’t use anything like salt spray on my hair but Ian is a fan and the fact that this contains almond oils means it shouldn’t be as drying as other formulas are.

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Finally, a make-up item from Jelly Pong Pong (I love this name!) I received the Caribbean Sun Bronzer in the shade Martinique which looks perfect for my pale skin. It is a duo that contains a matt bronzer and a shimmery pink blusher. The palette is a little bit small to get a big brush into but I imagine that swirling the colours together would create a lovely glow too. I like that the compact has a mirror and on first impressions the blusher looks like the real winner – the bronzer is a tad on the chalky side for me.

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Overall, I really like this month’s box. My stand-out product is the Caudelie tinted moisturiser and I am excited to try it out properly this week.

Sunday Catch-up #20

Another busy week at work with the dreaded SATs exams but broken up with a trip to the theatre, good food, and a lovely weekend with friends.

This week I have been…

Making: a roast beef dinner for this afternoon and already looking forward to the Yorkshire puds!

Going:  to Bristol which looked lovely in the sunshine

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Wearing: my anchor sandals for the first time this year (my feet were still a bit chilly!)

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Eating: pizza

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Drinking: cider…well, I am a Somerset girl

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Reading: bloody SATs papers over and over again

Watching: Gerrard’s last game for Liverpool

Buying: tickets to watch my friends perform in Hairspray

Planning: fun things for half-term

Cooking: a lot of pasta this week

Baking: nothing

Writing: shopping lists

Favouriting: Snapchat! I’m hannahruthduffy if you want to add me

Working on: my latest cross stitch

Trying to decide: if it will be warm enough to go camping next week

Wishing: for a speedy and less stressful week ahead

Enjoying: a spot of laminating – geeky but strangely satisfying

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Needing: to do a quick clean and tidy before our cleaner comes tomorrow…tell me I’m not the only one who does this?!

Feeling: guilty after a Maccy D breakfast

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Giggling at: after playing Doritos Roulette!

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Beauty Review – Bumble and Bumble’s Sunday Shampoo

It has been a lovely Saturday – one that started out with no plans but has quickly filled up with fun stuff! After a quick morning yoga session (still working my way through 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene) we headed off to Bristol for lunch with friends and enjoyed a variety of ciders and pizza before wandering along the Harbourside in the sunshine, stopping off for doughnuts and ice lollies.

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I wanted to do a quick beauty review today as I tried out a new shampoo which I had been wanting for a while but couldn’t quite bring myself to spend almost £20 on a bottle of it. Luckily, I had been storing up points on my Boots card so treated myself to this last weekend and in my warped mind I was able to justify it as being completely free!

This is a once-a-week clarifying shampoo which is designed to go one step further than ordinary shampoo and remove all build-up of products leaving you with super clean hair. I was worried that this would be too strong and strip my hair of its natural oils but after two uses of this shampoo I can report that it has left my hair squeaky clean and manageable.

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I still use some conditioner and a hair oil afterwards but my hair definitely feels lighter and not so weighed down after using this Sunday Shampoo…I was a real rebel today though and used it on a Saturday…I know!

I realise this is a lot to pay for a bottle of shampoo, but you really don’t need very much and as it will not be used on a daily basis, I can see this lasting for ages. So, would I buy it again? I think I could justify it although I am hoping that by the time this bottle has run out, I will have enough points on my Boots card for a ‘free’ repurchase! x

 

Recipe – Courgette and Parmesan Arancini

I feel like I have been teasing you with this recipe for a while and what better way to celebrate the end of the exam period at school than with a delicious arancini recipe?! These little balls of crunchy, cheesy risotto are one of my favourite things to order at an Italian restaurant and I was pleased to find out that they aren’t too tricky to make either.

In order to recreate this, you will need some leftover risotto and I highly recommend following my recipe here! I have left the amounts for this recipe rather vague as it really depends on how much rice you start with but it’s pretty simple to increase or decrease the amounts.

Ingredients

Leftover risotto

A good helping of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

A few tablespoons of plain flour

One egg, whisked up

A few tablespoons of breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

A glug of olive oil

How to make it

  • Begin by adding a good sprinkling of Parmesan to the leftover risotto to up the cheese factor

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  • Prepare your three dipping bowls/ saucers with the flour, egg and seasoned breadcrumbs

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  • Wet your hands and roll the risotto into small golf ball-sized shapes

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  • Heat some oil in a pan on a low to medium heat
  • Roll each ball in flour, egg then breadcrumbs
  • Add to the frying pan and gently fry until golden brown – you may need to do this in two batches

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  • Drain on some kitchen paper to absorb any grease
  • Serve with a big salad and enjoy! x

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Beauty Review – A Jurlique Trio

I received this beautiful gift set from Ian’s Mum a while ago but it has only just worked its way into my rotation of beauty products and I really like them. Obviously, I am a fan of almost anything rose flavoured but these items contain all-natural products and smell lovely. Jurlique is an Australian brand and slightly on the pricey side but their items are beautifully packaged and full of pure ingredients.

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First up is the Love Balm. This is a natural salve that adds a boost of moisture to almost anywhere. I have been using this on my lips and cuticles and it has a great non-greasy formula.

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The box I received also contained a tube of the Rose Hand Cream; a rich cream, perfect for daily applications. I am really bad at applying hand cream throughout the day but this smells so good that it makes me want to keep using it!

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Finally, a skincare item that has somewhat of a cult following; the Rosewater Balancing Mist. Previously written off as an unnecessary step in my skincare routine, I am now a fan of these facial sprays and as per my ‘Caroline Hirons Cheat Sheet’ have been using it as an extra boost of hydration morning and night. It may not be making a huge amount of difference but it feels so lovely and refreshing and is also great to pop in your handbag on a hot day to cool down.

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Jurlique is still a relatively new brand to me but after trying out these three items, I am definitely keen to try more – any recommendations? x

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Review – Holland House Spa, Bristol

This weekend, my two best friends and I headed to the Mercure Hotel in Bristol for a spa day. We all turn 30 this year (some sooner than others! Haha) so decided we deserved some pampering and a good girly day out free from husbands, babies and work!

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I found us a pretty good deal through Wahanda.com which I would definitely use again as it knocked about a third off the price! I bought the ‘Rejuvanate Spa Day’ package which included three treatments, lunch and use of the pool and gym within the hotel.

We arrived about midday and had a quick dip and gossip in the pool before enjoying a light lunch of wraps and fries. Then it was time to get our robes and slippers on!

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I really liked the atmosphere in this spa. There was unlimited tea and coffee and a really comfortable relaxation room so whilst we were waiting for our treatments we could enjoy a brew and chat on the sofas.

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Soon after, we were called upstairs for our treatments which included a back scrub and full massage, a facial and an Indian head, neck and shoulder massage. In total, this took about an hour and a half and was so indulgent and relaxing I almost fell asleep at several points!

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The products used were all Decleor and my skin was glowing when we left. It was lovely to be able to chat to a therapist too and pick up some tips for my skin.

Suffice to say we all left feeling wonderful and I am already searching for my next pamper day!

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