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Sunday Summary #6

Life

Hello! I’m writing this rather groggily after just waking up after a little afternoon nap, brought on by the delicious roast dinner Ian and I had for lunch…does anyone else get sleepy when they’ve eaten too much?! I need to wake up a bit as we are heading out to a pub quiz later on!

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In more exciting news, we have booked a holiday! Next month, we are off on a little Caribbean cruise visiting Cuba, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Mexico! I have always wanted to visit Havana and this feels like a great way to see a few more places whilst enjoying the same luxuries of a great hotel. We have spent this weekend looking at some amazing-sounding excursions…the countdown has begun.

This week, I have been watching the Sports Relief Bake-Off – not as exciting as the real thing but a good substitute. I also watched Juno and Sideways, two films I love.

I finished off my Ben Elton book and last night started ‘Vince and Joy. Despite it looking rather chick-lit, my Mum assures me it is a good read and I am a few chapters in.

I have also been listening to 21 Pilots non-stop as we are off to see them next weekend.

Food

We started the week with a special ‘Laksa Monday’ courtesy of Masterchef winner Ping Coombes. I wrote a review on my blog and it was a very tasty way to spend an evening.

At home, I made a lovely cod dish served with brown rice, quinoa and vegetables, a chorizo, kale and butternut squash hash, salmon and spelt spaghetti with pesto and courgetti with garlic prawns.

I have also fallen in love with sriracha. It used to be Thai sweet chilli sauce but now I am using this spicier version on everything.

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Things haven’t been completely virtuous though – these Cadbury Fingers didn’t last very long and I found a box of Cheeselets left over from Christmas that I have not had the willpower to resist!

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We also found a new brunch venue in nearby Bradford-on-Avon where we enjoyed the Saturday papers, eggs and flat whites.

Beauty

I am booked in for a ‘Legs, Bum and Tum Detox Treatment’ this week which I think is a massage, followed by a facial if the first part is too traumatic!

I have also been enjoying this face mask by Super Facialist, a great and affordable skincare brand. My skin drinks this stuff up and it is rose-scented so I am in heaven.

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My Birchbox also arrived yesterday so expect a review soon.

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Fashion

With going to the gym and eating better, I’m able to wear clothes that had been relegated to the back of my wardrobe after getting a bit too snug! This floral print dress from Warehouse is a welcome addition to my wardrobe again.

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Restaurant Review – Laksa Mondays at Ping’s Pantry

Just before Christmas, I saw on Twitter that Ping Coombes (Masterchef winner) would be having a pop-up restaurant in Bath serving her signature laksa dish. I booked us some tickets and this week Ian and I turned up at the GPT Smokehouse ready for a Malaysian feast.

We’ve eaten at the GPT before and there was a nice atmosphere inside and a great selection of craft ales. We found a seat at one of the large benches (FYI Ian hates communal dining!) and waited for our laksas. And boy did we wait!

Usually, I’m not in a huge rush at a restaurant, enjoying a few courses of good food and conversation, but the service was very slow with the waiters looking rather flustered throughout the evening. Nevertheless, we ordered a few sides with our main and caught up with each other’s days.

Our sides arrived first on a chopping board with a lovely spicy sriracha – my latest obsession – dipping sauce. We had some Cucur Udang, which were prawn and chive fritters containing huge pieces of juicy prawns, some Lor Bak, pork spring rolls, and some pork belly bites, which were deliciously moreish. Whilst very tasty, each of these sides were £6 and I don’t think, looking back at the photo, that it really represents £18 worth of side dishes…or maybe that’s just me being greedy and wanting bigger portions!

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However, the star of the show was the laska, a steaming bowl of creamy, spicy broth filled with noodles, chicken, prawns and puffs of bean curd. This was just about as spicy as I could handle (it did make my nose run!) but packed with flavour. The broth was beautiful, with a delicate tinge of lemongrass throughout which kept things light. Again, neither of us felt full afterwards so I would have preferred slightly more of it.

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The upside of not being quite full meant that we had room for pudding! We ordered two to share, both featuring coconut which I love.

I had the coconut rice pudding which was rich and creamy, topped with grilled pineapple. Ian had a coconut affogato which combined cold-brew coffee and local coconut ice-cream. I loved these two flavours together and I think the coconut latte could really take off!

So, a slightly mixed evening overall – less than brilliant service and small portions but the food itself was absolutely delicious so I’m very glad we went. x

Mani Monday – Elegant Touch Nail Wraps

(I thought I had posted this last night but it didn’t seem to work!)

After last week’s rather negative review of the Thumbs Up nail wraps, I thought I would try again with a set from Elegant Touch. I do like this brand for their cool designs and I have friends who rave about their stick on nails too.

I received the Kaleidoscope set for Christmas which is a bright, colourful geometric design in varying sizes with tiny diamantes set into the nail wraps. I really like the fact that a mini nail file was included in this pack to shape the wraps.

These were really easy and straightforward to apply with minimal puckering. I loved the final look of these and they lasted 4 days which isn’t too bad.

The only mistake I made was adding a topcoat which slightly distorted the nail wraps and left the surface slightly bobbled.

I chose to cover all my nails but these would work great as an accent nail too…I’m already eyeing up some other designs! x

Sunday Summary #5

Life

My final Sunday Summary of January and it has been a pretty good week.

All my hard work at the gym seems to be paying off as I have now lost half a stone. I think seeing a result is such good motivation as you know all the effort put in is actually doing something!

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I also found out this week I passed my NPQML, a leadership course I have spent the last 18 months on through work that is roughly equivalent to one third of a Masters. It was a hard slog so I was over the moon to get my results.

This weekend, I popped over to Bristol to see my bestie and enjoy croissants and tea then Ian’s parents came to stay with their dog George.

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After enjoying Making A Murderer so much, we have started watching The Jinx which follows another murder case, this time where the suspect got off.

I finished reading The Never List (review coming soon!) and have started a very witty Ben Elton novel, roughly set against the back-drop of the UK financial crisis.

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Food

We treated ourselves to a mid-week takeaway and I tried to make mine as healthy as possible, sticking to chicken tikka and salad…and it was delicious!

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Today, Ian and I cooked a roast chicken dinner followed by a chocolate brownie pizza…I think they balance each other out!

Finally, I kept a food diary last week as part of the UK’s ‘Breakfast Week’ and realised I am obsessed with my current breakfast of Greek yogurt, honey, granola and berries.

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Beauty

This week, I indulged in an hour-long facial and massage which was so relaxing. The therapist used lots of aromatherapy products and my skin has looked and felt great ever since.

A Birchbox order arrived so I have a few new products to have a play around with.

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The current winter chill, paired with the heating being on more, has left me with quite dry skin. This Ultra Repair face cream from First Aid Beauty has been a godsend at rehydrating my parched skin.

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Fashion

I tried out these nail wraps by Elegant Touch and loved them – easy to apply and quite long lasting.

Apart from that, I have been lusting over gym wear online so expect a little haul on the blog soon. I feel I can justify this one as daily gym trips seem to create SO MUCH LAUNDRY!!!

Have a great week…Ian and I are off to a very exciting pop-up restaurant tomorrow night!

Mani Monday – Thumbs Up Nail Wraps

I wasn’t sure whether to post this as I don’t like writing overly negative reviews but then I thought about the type of reviews that I like to read and trust and they are the honest ones. The ones where not everything is amazing and solves all skin problems in one application…and the cynical blog reader in me would say that these honest reviews are getting rarer with the abundance of sponsored posts popping up nowadays.

I received these Thumbs Up nail wraps in a recent Birchbox in the Rosa design. I loved them but thought it was a little mean to only include 5 wraps to try out! Luckily, they were long enough for me to be able to cover two nails per wrap but that’s probably the most positive thing I have to say about this product.

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Firstly, the application was tricky to say the least. I wear nail wraps a lot and these puckered almost as soon as I applied them and were very tricky to smooth out.

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Secondly, the design, which looked lovely in the packet, was completely lost on nude nails. This may have looked good on a white base but I’ve never had much success with applying nail wraps on top of nail varnish.

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Despite not being very keen on the final finish or look of these nail wraps, I decided to leave them on for a few days…only to wash my hair and have 8 out of 10 of them peel off after washing my hair the next morning, despite a layer of topcoat.

Whilst the design of these looked great, I wouldn’t use Thumbs Up again…they get a big Thumbs Down from me.

x

Sunday Summary #4

Life

It has been a pretty standard week around these parts. My parents came to stay for a couple of nights which meant my Dad cooking for us – yum!

We’ve had a really nice weekend too. We headed into town on Saturday for lunch and the Liverpool match – and what a match it was!

Today, after a quick gym session, we went to the cinema to watch The Big Short which was such a thought-provoking film. It was done so well, with great cutaways to explain the trickier financial language used in the film, and it showed the crisis from several points of view.

Ian and I started watching Peaky Blinders this week on Netflix and I have to say I’m hooked, although very disappointed at the poor Brummie accents throughout!

I bought myself some pretty roses – and I was excited to see daffodils in the shops today too.

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I started a new book this week, The Never List, and I am loving it. With the release of the film ‘Room’, I can see this genre of literature becoming very popular. I enjoyed reading Room but The Never List is even more extreme, telling the story of a group of abducted girls and the years of torture they survived. A grizzly read, but fascinating nonetheless.

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Food

My Dad always asks me what I want him to cook and nine times out of ten I ask for a big tray of BBQ ribs! He did not disappoint, serving up plenty of ribs and rice to share.

Whilst things are still looking quite healthy, I could not resist these salted caramel and chocolate cookies Ian brought home.

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I also had a delicious macaroni cheese for lunch, served with garlic flatbread.

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Beauty

I wrote about a new YSL collection on the blog this week and I have enjoyed trying out the contents.

I tried out some new nail wraps which I am really disappointed with…ah well, you can’t love everything you try.

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I am on a 6-month nail varnish ban but I have bought a few beauty items this week that I am waiting to arrive. I managed to clock up over £20 of Birchbox points so picked a couple of things from the shop and have also ordered a box of Korean sheet masks which I cannot wait to try out.

Finally, I have been using this Body Shop nail varnish remover. This is one beauty product I have always just bought the cheapest bottle of in Superdrug or Boots but this one has almond oil in and feels so much more gentle and nourishing on the nails – I’m a convert.

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Fashion

It has been cold again this week so I have been loving layers! One of my favourite and most comfortable cardigans is this Aztec-print one which I have been pairing with skinny jeans.

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I accidently had a recent ASOS order sent to my parents’ house so when they came to stay, my Mum brought up this new dress. I love the print and it is a lovely light, flowing style that I have been wearing with tights and boots.

 

Beauty Review – YSL Top Secrets Kit

Today I wanted to share a lovely little beauty collection from Yves Saint Laurent that my Mum bought me for Christmas. Predominantly an eye kit, this contains two products from the ‘Top Secrets’ collection as well as the iconic Touche Éclat and a mascara.

Firstly, there is a small bottle of a bi-phase eye make-up remover. I quite like these products that you shake to activate finding them effective at eye make-up removal yet often leaving a slight greasiness behind from the oil. This YSL one removes all product without leaving behind too much of a film and also managed to feel very refreshing – a nice bottle to pop in my make-up bag for travelling.

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Next, a small tube of the False Lash Effect Mascara in black. This is my first YSL mascara and, having read the reviews, I am looking forward to trying it…you can’t go wrong with another mascara in your collection!

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I think this is my third or fourth tube of Touche Éclat and I am a big fan. Despite first using this as a concealer many years ago(!), I now love using this product to add some luminosity under the eyes or adding a touch of highlight to the cheekbones or brow bone. I’ve also seen it used as an eyelid primer too which I will definitely try!

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Finally, there is a YSL Top Secrets Eye Wake-Up Roll on. Housed in a sleek, gold-embossed tube, this mini roller ball aims to reduce dark circles and refresh the eye area. Luckily, I don’t tend to suffer with very noticeable dark circles but, like most, could definitely do with some help to look a bit more awake in the mornings!

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YSL is definitely in the luxe category of beauty items so I was very pleased to receive this mini collection…thanks Mum! x

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