Happy Birthday to me!

It’s wrong to say Happy Birth”day” to me because in actual fact I have a Birth-week not a Birth”day”! I always pack my Birthday week full of fun and days out with family and friends and this year was no exception!

Here’s what I got up to during this AMAZING week!

On Monday, Mum and I caught the megabus to London! Yes it takes ages but it cost us only £8 each for a return from Gloucester to London! The coach stops at Victoria Coach Station which just so happens to be a five-minute walk away from one of my favourite bakery’s in London – Dominique Ansel’s! So, we popped in here for breakfast before starting our busy London adventure!


I had an amazing turkey croque monsieur and one of their Blossoming hot chocolates, which I have wanted to try for ages!

I also had a delicious Cookie Shot, a shot glass sized cup made out of cookie and filled with delicious creamy vanilla milk! I bought a pack of six Cookie Shots to take home with me as well! The cakes in here are incredible – check out these lovely Blizzard Bear cakes!

After our lovely refreshment break we caught an Uber over to Kensington Palace. We had a lovely time here, so much so that I am writing a separate blog on this amazing place – the Diana Exhibition which is currently on was definitely an added bonus! Even better, we didn’t pay the entrance fee because we managed to pay for the tickets using our Tesco Clubcard vouchers!

After a few hours exploring Kensington Palace we moseyed on over to Cutter and Squidge for our Genie’s Cave afternoon tea! I really love attending these themed afternoon teas! I have been trying to get into the Tale as old as Time one for months but it is always fully booked. Then after going to the amazing Mad Hatter’s Tea Party afternoon tea in December last year I was on the hunt for something similar and came across the Genie’s Cave version! This was another brilliant experience with amazing food, so a a separate blog is to follow on this too! A word of warning though – the Genie’s Cave theme is due to end at the end of March so get booking if this is something you fancy!


After stuffing our faces we wandered around and did the only thing we know best – bought more delicious treats to bring home with us! We visited Doughnut Time who sell THE BEST doughnuts ever! Move over KrispyKreme!


After visiting all of our favourite food places we wandered slowly back over to Victoria Coach Station via Buckingham Palace to catch our coach home. What an amazing start to my Birthday week!

Tuesday was far less exciting but definitely a lovely day off – I basically got up at the normal time and got ready and then spent the morning in my local Starbucks catching up with writing my blogs and updating my Instagram and Twitter accounts. I managed to publish a blog every day in December for Blogmas, and over the Christmas holidays I had intended to get my blogs up to date and to have them scheduled several weeks in advance, but unfortunately this fell by the way-side and since mid-January I have been struggling to get my weekly weekend blog published. The week commencing 19th February I didn’t publish anything, which was the first time in a long time. I’ve found it especially hard to focus and get back into the blog writing since our lovely dog Skibba passed away last month as well. Anyway, today gave me a chance to catch up and draft as many blogs as possible, plus drink ridiculous amounts of my favourite coffee! A nice calm and relaxed morning!

After a few hours of getting square eyes I wandered over to the business park next door to have a look in some of the furniture stores to get some decorating ideas for our house. We’ve got the plasterer booked to plaster most of the upstairs and the dining room ceilings next week and after that we can get cracking with the decorating, so I need to start thinking about designs and colour schemes! I’m hoping by the time we have been in the house six months (beginning of June) I can write a blog about the progress we have made so far, but things are moving far slower than I had expected and the weeks and months just seem to be whizzing by!

Anyway, I came across some lovely dining room tables and chairs, bed frames and wallpaper and kitchens and nursery furniture so plenty of food for thought!

In the evening hubby and I went out for a lovely meal to Zizzi’s which is one of my favourite restaurants. Plus, we had £40 worth of Tesco Clubcard vouchers to spend in here, so it was practically a free meal which was brilliant!

On Wednesday, my Mum and I traveled over to the nearby town of Tewkesbury. I’ve always wanted to see Tewkesbury Abbey and, as it is not too far away, Tewkesbury seemed to be a lovely day out. It is a really beautiful building with lots of history so, you guessed it, a separate blog is to follow!


After visiting the Abbey we grabbed lunch at a nearby restaurant called Café E Vino. The lunch was delicious and they had plenty of vegetarian and vegan options which I thought was very impressive! I had a delicious meal of gnocchi in a gorgonzola and speck sauce – really tasty!

After a hearty lunch we wandered down to the waters edge to see the river, although we didn’t hang around for long as it was absolutely freezing and the water level was really high after the recent snowfall had melted.

After a lovely day we hopped in the car to go and collect my amazing Birthday cake from Claire’s Cakes Cheltenham! Isn’t it beautiful!?


She has made several cakes for us over the years including an amazing Winter Wonderland cake, two amazing Game of Thrones themed cakes and a Harry Potter themed cake! This year’s cake was a Geode cake and as usual she has outdone herself and made a spectacular creation! Can’t wait for friends and family to see it tomorrow!

Thursday was my actual Birthday so my Sister and I started the day going to Hubble Bubble, one of our favourite coffee houses, for one of their famous freakshakes! We tried the Easter edition this time!


After our sugar overload we ventured into town for a bit of retail therapy,  coffee  and lunch. The centre of Gloucester isn’t great for shopping however Gloucester Quays Outlet Centre is only a short walk away so we spent most of our time here. I had planned for us to go to The Grill Shed for lunch but unfortunately I woke up this morning with a stinking cold so I didn’t feel up to having a big meal! We ended up having macaroni cheese in Costa instead which was just what we needed!

After our shopping trip I came home and prepared a little buffet for the family and friends who were popping over to visit me for my Birthday! It was really lovely to see everyone and catch up with them and after the buffet we all enjoyed a large slab of Birthday cake! My Mum and my Sister bought me some beautiful flowers and people came over with mounds of presents!

When everyone had gone I had the important task of opening all of my cards and gifts! I just hadn’t had the time so far! As usual, I’ve been absolutely spoilt! My Mum bought me the amazing shoes I included in my Valentine’s Day treats post (and believe me they look as good in real life as they did in that picture!)


My Sister asked me if I wanted anything in particular but she knows me very well and is brilliant at present buying so I told her to surprise me! And she did! As well as my beautiful flowers she bought me a lovely pair of grey trainers, a keyring, a pen and a Columbo boxset! (I LOVE Columbo!!!)

Hubby asked me ages ago what I would like for my Birthday and I really couldn’t think of anything I wanted but as my Sister and I were walking through town today we walked past the Pandora shop to have a peep in the window. I’ve always wanted a Pandora bracelet and really love all the amazing charms you can get, but I have always worn gold jewellery, and all my existing jewellery is in gold! The gold bracelets and charms are available but are really, really expensive and I would never want to spend so much on a bracelet. Anyway, when we looked inside they were promoting the new Pandora Shine collection which is basically thick gold plated jewellery and obvious makes it far more affordable than the solid gold range, so it was as if it was meant to be!

So I had a beautiful gold Pandora bracelet and two charms from hubby in the end! I was so pleased to finally get one and he was pleased I had chosen something I really wanted for my Birthday! I’ve been very spoilt! I also had cash and vouchers from family and friends so I’ll take these with me when I’m working in London next week to see what lovely things I can find!

A perfect evening with family and friends – except the washing up afterwards of course!

The Friday was another brilliant day because I got to spend the day with my Sister and my Mum! It would have been nice to venture over to nearby Cheltenham as there’s plenty of places I would like to visit, but unfortunately my Birthday always lands in the middle of Race week at Cheltenham Racecourse, so Cheltenham and the surrounding areas are jam-packed with people! Even trying to get a restaurant reservation in Gloucester during this week is quite difficult so we thought it would be best to go a bit further afield and visit Blenheim Palace! It is only around an hour away from us and once again we were able to get our tickets using £8 worth of Tesco Clubcard vouchers! We’ve done extremely well over the years exchanging these vouchers for days out or restaurant vouchers!

Before we set off I wanted to treat my Mum and Sister to breakfast so I booked a table at one of our favourite restaurants for breakfast – Cote Brasserie. In fact, I’ve not been here for lunch or an evening meal, only for breakfast! I always have the Croque Monsieur – it is to die for!

After a hearty breakfast we set off for Blenheim Palace. I’ve wanted to visit here for a long, long time so I’m really pleased I finally got round to it! I definitely want to re-visit in December when they have the “Christmas at Blenheim Palace” theme going on. I can imagine the Palace will look even more beautiful at that time of the year!


We spent a few hours here, there is plenty to do and see and to be honest I really underestimated how big this place is! I will have to come back soon to finish looking at the parts of it we hadn’t got around to.

As a special treat I booked for the three of us to  have Afternoon Tea in the Orangery which was really lovely and the food was delicious.


We finally got home after sitting in traffic for ages and luckily I hadn’t made any plans for the evening, so this gave me the chance to have a sort through and edit all the photos I had taken this week (and to have a well earned rest and hot bath!)

On the Saturday night we went over to our friends house and they cooked us a delicious dinner, my friend also made me this beautiful cookie mermaid, rainbow and unicorn display! Isn’t it amazing? She’s so talented!


She also bought me a mound of presents including some sparkly trainers, amazing cocktail liquors chocolates, keyrings and some amazing Pusheen slippers! I’ve been wearing them all weekend!


Our friends only live about a 15 minute walk away so we walked home, and just in time really as shortly after we arrived home the “mini beast from the East” struck and it started heavily snowing again! I don’t ever remember there being snow around my Birthday before! Fingers crossed Spring will be here soon and we can start the Easter celebrations!

Another fantastic Birthday! I’m so grateful to have such great family and friends!

Lush Cosmetics – The Mother’s Day Collection

To be totally honest, I didn’t have high hopes for the Lush Cosmetics Mother’s Day collection when it was first released. I didn’t even realise they released a collection especially for Mother’s Day! The products included in the collection surprised me slightly – there were a few great looking items I wanted to try, but overall I thought to myself, there are far too many different soaps making up this collection! Do Mum’s like getting soaps for Mother’s Day more than any other product I wonder? It just seemed a tad odd to me that’s all!

Anyway, here is the full range of Mother’s Day products and what I thought of each one:

Madame President Bath Bomb

How stunning looking is this bath bomb to start off the Mother’s Day collection?! What a fantastic design!

Not only does Madame President look great, but the ingredients it contains (grapefruit oil and petitgrain oil) also make it a winner!


Madame President is a very, very fast fizzer – I struggled to hold it still in time for a photo! It also produces the most amazing looking bath art, particularly when the stars separate from the bath bomb and float around the bath!

I really love the scent of this bath bomb but it has received mixed reviews from other Lushies who don’t like the stronger scent of the petitgrain oil, but I find it very different and refreshing.

I also found this to be one of the most moisturising bath bombs I’ve used. The water was so soft and silky, but without being oily or greasy. I’ll definitely be stocking up on a few of these before they are discontinued!

Looks like we are off to a good start with the Mother’s Day collection so far!

Mother of Pearl Marbled Bubbleroon

I used this bubbleroon first and didn’t even look at the ingredients so I was really pleased when I crumbled half under the hot running water and instantly recognised the scent as being the same as one of my favourite products – Rub Rub Rub shower scrub! As soon as I realised, I knew this was going to be one of my favourite products and I knew I would have to go and stock up on some more before the Mother’s Day collection disappeared!


Mother of Pearl contains the same ingredients for softening and moisturising as the other bubbleroons in the range – fair trade organic cocoa butter, murumuru butter, and fair trade shea butter, and also contains jasmine absolute, mimosa absolute and orange flower absolute! Lovely!

The scent is really citrusy and quite lemony – I’m still surprised that lemon is not one of the main ingredients in this product! I can see that some people are going to have the same issues with this product as they have with Rub Rub Rub shower scrub, and that is that the scent is slightly reminiscent of lemon toilet cleaner! That makes it sound horrible, and I can see why some people think that, but this is truly one of my favourite scents from the Lush range.

I was hoping to pop to my local Lush to get some more of these last weekend however as we were completely snowed in, I wasn’t going anywhere! I’ll have to put in another online order to make sure I don’t miss out on these beauties!

Chamomile Lawn Soap

I didn’t like the scent of this one when it arrived and it seemed to overpower all the other scents in my Lush delivery box! To be honest with you, even after using the soap I am still unsure about the scent – I don’t like it, yet don’t dislike it…. a very strange and unusual scent is the only way I can really describe it.


Chamomile Lawn soap, I was surprised to learn, contains lavender oil and lavender absolute – this is definitely not an ingredient I can detect in the soap either before or during use, which is a shame because I do like delicately scented lavender products.

For softness and moisturising, the soap contains fair trade organic cocoa butter, extra virgin coconut oil, organic castor oil, chamomile blue oil and neroli oil (neroli oil is also known as orange blossom).

The final ingredient is what gives this product its name – German chamomile infusion. I think this is the ingredient which gives this product its unusual scent and is perhaps the ingredient which I am not too keen on. I think it is this ingredient which gives this soap it’s “medicinal” scent.

The soap lathers up really well and does leave your skin feeling lovely and soft – the scent is not my favourite but is definitely unlike anything else I have used before. I probably wouldn’t buy anymore of this product but I will carry on using the one I have already got. If any of you guys come across it I would be interested to see what you all thought of it?


Mum, Look What I Made For You Bath Bomb

This is so cute looking! What a great idea! A bath bomb which looks like something your little one would conjure up during an arts and crafts afternoon!


I don’t know what I expected this bath bomb to smell like – perhaps something floral seeing as it is designed in the shape of a flower, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! Look What I Made For You bath bomb is made up of some lovely ingredients including coconut milk powder, cocoa absolute, almond essential oil, coconut blossom nectar, and chocolate extract!


You can definitely smell the chocolate extract as one of the most prominent smells, and I was surprised to learn that this put some other Lushie’s off the scent! I think it’s really nice – it is chocolatey and sweet by by no means overpowering. The coconut milk powder gives it that creamy scent and the almond oil give it a little bit of sweetness and bitterness all rolled into one!

It also produces beautiful bath art so overall this is one of my favourites of the Mother’s Day range! Not the most attractive looking of bath bombs I must admit, but it isn’t supposed to be is it!? Plus you won’t have to put it up on the fridge for the next five years like most of the strange creations and drawings the little ones bring home for you for Mother’s Day!

I’m definitely going to grab a couple more of these whilst they are still around!


Purple Drain Marbled Bubbleroon

This was the second out of the three bubbleroons I tried, and I was really looking forward to using it when I saw the ingredients it contained!

As with all these new marbled bubbleroons, Purple Drain contains fair trade organic cocoa butter, murumuru butter and fair trade shea butter for moisturising and softness.


I was particularly looking forward to using this bubbleroon because it contained clove bud oil, black pepper oil and peppermint oil – a really dark and potent mix – or so you would think…..

I was hoping the scent would be similar to that of one of my favourite scents “Lord of Misrule”, but unfortunately it was nothing like it! Well from what I could smell of Purple Drain it didn’t seem to be anything like it! I found Purple Drain to be a really faintly scented product, so much so, I wondered whether I should have used the entire bubbleroon in one go? This would seem to be a very expensive way to get a decent scent from a product though!

I’ve gone back and had another smell of the left over half of the bubbleroon – you can faintly detect the smell of the black pepper oil but definitely nothing remotely like peppermint. Maybe the one I had was a dud – if any of you have used Purple Drain and think differently I would love to hear from you – it might mean I can invest in another one and have an entirely different experience!

Lovely idea for a scent but no where near strong enough for me, what a shame.

Raspberry Milkshake Soap

I had really high hopes for this one – other Lushie’s were saying they loved the scent and design of this product so I was looking forward to using it!


Raspberry Milkshake soap contains almond milk, fair trade organic cocoa butter, extra virgin coconut oil, and organic castor oil for softness and moisturising. It’s other ingredients are fresh raspberry juice, raspberry seeds, dried larkspur frosted blue (a lavender type looking flower), vanilla absolute, davana oil, and sicilian lemon oil.


The soap lathered up really well but I was a bit concerned about the amount of dark pink (almost red) colouring which seemed to be pouring out of it! It washed off my skin but has left a slight tinge on my hands where I was rubbing the soap into the sponge! Be careful with white towels and favourite clothes lying within splash distance!

The lather did leave my skin feeling really soft but I have to say, I was very underwhelmed with the scent of this soap. The overall scent is very weak and I was expecting a creamy raspberry smell, but I could only just detect the raspberry at all! There is a faint vanilla smell there too, but I couldn’t detect the lemon juice aspect of it in any way.

I thought this would be one of my favourites but unfortunately not! I don’t dislike the scent, and the soap is lovely and moisturising, I just wouldn’t buy any more because there are so many other lovely Lush soaps out there that I would rather use!

Incredible Mum Bath Bomb

Hats off to the person who came up with the idea for this bath bomb! It’s brilliant! It even has it’s own little paper superhero cape! Amazing!

Anyway, after seeing the design of this one, I had big expectations for Incredible Mum Bath Bomb! I loved the sound of the ingredients –  bergamot oil, orange flower absolute, and ylang ylang oil. Just my sort of scent!


It’s fair to say when I expected big things from this little bath bomb that I wasn’t disappointed! It created some of the most beautiful bath art I have seen and the scent of the bath bomb was absolutely gorgeous! I didn’t want to get out of the bath!


The bath is soon filled with stunning pink, orange and yellow colours, and I loved how after the bath bomb had fully dissolved that the little cape was left behind, floating along the top of the water.

If you only buy one item for your Mum from the Mother’s Day collection then I think this may be the product for you! It looks spectacular, smells amazing and is perfect for every superhero Mum out there!

Baa Bar Bubble Bar

Baa Bar Bubble bar is not a new product, however the recipe for it has changed this year which has resulted in mixed opinions amongst the Lushie community!


I am afraid I can’t make a comparison with the previous Baa Bar, as unfortunately I didn’t get to use the previous design. All I can tell you is that this latest design is “Twilight” scented and after using half a bubble bar for my bath I am an absolute addict!


I think I actually prefer this bubble bar to its Twilight bath bomb counterpart – the scent is incredible and just half a bar produces mounds of lovely fluffy bubbles with really silky and moisturising water. Plus, the Twilight scent is designed to help relax you and ease you into a good nights sleep, and anything which helps me get off to the land of nod is a bonus to me!

Baa Bar Bubble Bar contains Lavender Oil, Tonka Absolute, Ylang Ylang Oil, Lavender Powder and Soya Milk and is a perfect combination!

I would tell you all to go out and buy several of these but as they are limited editions for Mother’s Day I don’t want them selling out before I can get my hands on at least five more!

Lemon Zest Soap

As I say, one of the first things I noticed about the Mother’s Day collection was how many soaps there were! When I looked at them all I had a sneaky feeling that this one was going to be my favourite! I love lemony and zesty fresh scents and believe me, Lemon Zest did not disappoint!


Lemon Zest is overwhelmingly zesty and I love it! It contains fair trade organic cocoa butter, extra virgin coconut oil, organic castor oil, and murumuru butter for moisturising and softness, and lemon oil, fresh lemon peel, rosewood oil, lemon myrtle oil, and almond oil to make a perfect scent combination. Wow!


The soap lathers up really well and leaves your skin feeling not only soft and smooth but really cleansed and refreshed. I used loads and loads of it the first time I used it because I adore the scent but I was pleased that the size of the soap hardly reduced at all!

This is definitely one of my favourite Lush soaps ever – if you like lemony zesty scents then buy, buy, buy!

Antiope Naked Shower Gel

I’m not going to go into too much detail about the new “Naked” products available from Lush because I’ve done a separate blog on what I think about these new creations which I am hoping will be released in the next couple of weeks. What I will say is this is probably the most perfectly made Naked shower gel I have come across so far!


I read the ingredients for this one and even after studying them quite closely I was still quite unsure of what to expect with this scent. Antiope has some really unusual ingredients in it that I’ve not come across before such as suma root infusion (aids blood circulation and increases endurance and strength), pequi oil (great for eczema and skin lesions and hair treatments), davana oil (an oil with a really powerful fruity and sweetly herbaceous aroma), and galbanum oil (aids poor circulation and eases aches and pains in joints and muscles). In fact, I’ve only ever heard of two of the ingredients Antiope is made up of, which are white amazonian clay and brazilian orange oil!

After I’ve listed all these ingredients and their properties, Antiope appears to be one amazing product! The naked shower gel lathers up really well and leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth and refreshed. The only downside? As with Chamomile Lawn soap above, there’s an ingredient in Antiope which makes me dislike the scent somewhat. I love Brazilian orange oil so, going from the description of the ingredients, I can only put it down to it being the davana oil that I dislike the smell of.

It’s such a shame, although you can detect the smell of Brazilian orange oil, it is far outweighed by the unusual scent of, presumably, the davana oil. If the Brazilian orange oil was the stronger scent here, I would really love this product. Unfortunately, as it stands, this is probably my least favourite Naked Shower Gel from the range!

Citrus Are Doing It For Themselves Marbled Bubbleroon

This was the last one of the Marbled bubbleroons that I tried, and so far I’ve used one that I really loved and one that I wasn’t too bothered about, so this third one really could go either way!


After my disappointment with Purple Drain, I wondered to myself whether I should have been using all of the marbled bubbleroons in one go? I’d not done this very often and thought to myself that this would work out expensive going forward, but I thought is it better to have one bath you really enjoyed with the strength of the scent being just right, or two or three baths you were disappointed with because you could barely detect the scent of the product?

Anyway, I decided on chopping up just half of the bubbleroon as I had been doing with the others, and I am very pleased I did because half of Citrus are doing it for themselves was more than enough for a bath of lovely fluffy bubbles and soft moisturising water.


I was looking forward to using this one because the ingredients looked perfect to me – fairtrade organic cocoa butter, murumuru butter and fair trade shea butter for moisturising (just like the other bubbleroons) plus lemon oil, grapefruit oil, lime oil and lemon myrtle oil – it doesn’t get more citrusy than that! If you are not a fan of citrusy smells then you need to steer clear of this one I’m afraid!

I really loved the scent of this bubbleroon – I’m not going to lie, the citrus scent was very overpowering but I loved it! It was so refreshing, and just what I needed when the snow was heavily falling outside!


Honey Bear Massage Bar

Look at this cute little guy! Almost too good to use isn’t he?

Now I am not a fan of moisturising. I know I should do more of it and my skin really needs it but I just can’t stand how it feels! all greasy and slippery and sticking to everything! So it’s fair to say I moisturise as little as possible, which is why, I suppose, I enjoy the really moisturising bath bombs and bubble bars.

Anyway, I didn’t want to put this little guy at a disadvantage so I made the effort to make sure I used the Honey Bear Massage Bar properly! Honey Bear is made up of fair trade organic cocoa butter, fair trade shea butter, almond oil (I LOVE almond scented products!) clove leaf oil, tonka absolute, Brazilian vetiver oil, vanilla absolute, honey, and vegan dark chocolate! Wow! I didn’t know whether to moisturise with him or eat him (don’t judge – I’d been snowed in for two days when I wrote this blog so cabin fever was starting to set in!).


Anyway, I gave it a try….I was pleased that when I was using it on my skin it didn’t seem to melt as quickly as some of the other massage bars I’ve tried, which meant I didn’t get buttery massage bar grease all over my hands like I have done with some of them!

It left my skin looking really moisturised, but not with so much product that I thought it might take 12 hours for my skin to absorb it all! The scent is really nice, but I can imagine that some people would find it to be a bit too sweet for them! The smell is predominately honey and cocoa butter scented, and is comforting and relaxing.

As I’ve said, I’m not a fan of moisturising products, but as far as Honey Bear goes, I will carry on using it and think it’s a great product, especially for this time of year when your skin has been suffering with the cold, wild weather and constant central heating.

Mum In A Spin Bubble Spinner

I can’t go as far as to say I wasn’t looking forward to using the Mum in a Spin Bubble spinner because I look forward to trying all of my Lush products – I wouldn’t buy them otherwise! However, I’ve bought a similar product from Lush – the original Bubble Spinner reusable bubble bar, and when it arrived I was a bit disappointed at the size and overall product to be honest, so it went to the bottom of the pile and I haven’t used it yet!


However, I do like to be proven wrong on some of these products I completely mis-judge, and the Mum in a Spin Bubble Spinner was no exception!

As soon as I held it under running water and the scent started to become more apparent, I knew I was going to enjoy this one! Mum in a Spin Bubble Spinner contains lavender oil, tonka absolute and ylang ylang oil, and smells incredible!


The other thing I really loved about this product is, despite holding it under running water for ages and swishing it around in the bath water, the product didn’t reduce in size at all and I had a lovely bath full of lovely fluffy bubbles and beautiful pink bath water!


Despite its size I reckon you will get at least four decent baths out of this one, which is double what you will get from the marbled bubbleroons of the Mother’s Day collection!

I’m really pleased I bought this in the end, the scent is lovely and the water is really soft and moisturising! Not my absolute favourite from the collection but definitely near the top of the list!

Rosebud Soap

As you know I am not a fan of rose scented products! I can normally get away with using them when they have additional scents such as vanilla in, to try and sweeten up the scent, but Rosebud soap didn’t seem to have any such additional ingredient so I didn’t hold out much hope that this would be one of my favourites!


Although it is obvious that the scent is going to be predominately rose, I did find the scent very overpowering, even for me! Rosebud soap contains white rose petal infusion, tuberose absolute (described as one of the most exotic and intoxicating materials of the plant kingdom!), oat milk, organic extra virgin olive oil and rose water.

There’s a distinct rose smell but also something else which I couldn’t quite pick out, maybe it is the tuberose absolute, but whatever it is, it makes this scent even less appealing to me than any rose scented product normally would!

It lathers up nicely but that is about it for this soap – I didn’t find it to be particularly moisturising in addition to really disliking the smell! I’ve left the remainder of the soap in the downstairs toilet for guests to use when they wash their hands but I can’t see they will appreciate this if they have similar tastes in scents to me!

Sorry, but this is probably one, if not my least favourite scent from Lush so far!


Purple Loosestrife Soap

I saved this one until last because (SPOILER ALERT – don’t read this next sentence if you don’t want to know!) I heard on the grapevine that this soap has a lovely surprise golden middle!

Purple Loosestrife is made up of fair trade organic cocoa butter, extra virgin coconut oil, organic castor oil, rose syrup, hibiscus syrup, lavender syrup, violet leaf absolute, rose absolute, bergamot oil, and caning oil and smells lovely.


It’s quite a hard soap compared to the others I’ve used and is slightly more difficult to lather up but I noticed how soft this soap made my skin straight away! The scent is flowery but not overwhelmingly so. You can definitely detect the lavender, rose and hibiscus but the scent is perfectly balanced so it is delicate and sweet as well as flowery.


The centre is a beautiful golden glittery colour which slowly melts under the warmth of the water. It leaves a slight shimmer on your skin but doesn’t leave you absolutely covered in glitter, and the majority of the glitter washes away from your skin when you stand under the running water. I think it’s a really lovely feature of the soap and I’m sure it’s this golden buttery centre which makes your skin so soft and moisturised.

Another thing I loved about this soap is the scent lasted on my skin for ages after I stepped out of the shower – in fact I could smell the scent on my skin hours later, which is really rare with all the other Lush soaps I’ve used.

I really love this soap! I think I will treat myself to another one from the collection until they are no longer available! I am literally getting to full capacity of soaps now though – I mustn’t buy anymore! Luckily there’s only one soap in this years Lush Easter collection!

And there you have it – the Mother’s Day collection from Lush. I was impressed with most of the products and think this collection is actually potentially a better collection than the Easter one which has not long been released.

I’ll soon find out as I am going to start using the products from the Easter range in the next few days, so watch this space!

Gloucester Cathedral


I am very ashamed to say that I have lived in Gloucester all my life however have only visited Gloucester Cathedral on three occasions! The first occasion doesn’t even really count as I am pretty sure I was only in junior school, and so I don’t remember much of it!


The cathedral originated around 678/679 with an abbey which was dedicated to Saint Peter. The abbey was later dissolved by Henry VIII. The cathedral as it currently stands was build in Romanesque and Gothic style between the years 1089 and 1499.




An interesting fact – one of the stained glass windows in the cathedral shows one of the earliest images of golf! This window dates back from 1350 which is over 300 years before the images of golf appeared in Scotland.

The beautiful nave

As with most Cathedrals these days, there is no entrance fee and tickets aren’t required, however there is a donation box for you to leave what you would like to show your support.

If you would like to take photos inside the cathedral – whether this be with a camera or on your phone, you need to buy a ticket for £2 and you will be provided with a sticker to wear to show you have paid to take photos. I thought this was a really good idea, until the lady serving me said that they often find this policy to be abused, particularly by those taking photographs on their phone, which I thought was awful!

£2 to take photos of this incredible place was well worth it, and it’s nice to know all of this money will be put back into the restoration and upkeep of the cathedral.


Whilst inside you will come across the Stained Glass Windows of the Thomas Chapel. The glass is the work of Thomas Denny and was installed in 1992. The windows are based on Psalm 148 – the right-hand window reflects the worship of the elements, and the left-hand window reflects the worship of all God’s creatures.

You may find Gloucester Cathedral to be very familiar after seeing it appear as a filming location for three of the Harry Potter films, Sherlock Holmes (The Abominable Bride scene at the end where Sherlock and Watson are in the ruins of a desanctified church) and the Doctor Who Christmas special!

The beautiful cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral are particularly memorable from the Harry Potter films!

The stunning fan vaulted roof Cloisters – as seen in Harry Potter (first, second and sixth film)



Inside Gloucester Cathedral you will find some famous historical tombs, including;

Osric, King of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the Hwicce.

Osric is claimed as the founder of two monastic houses, one at Bath (now Bath Abbey) and the other here at Gloucester Cathedral. 

Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy and the eldest son of William the Conqueror.

He died in 1134 at Cardiff Castle, a prisoner of his youngest brother, King Henry I. The exact place of his burial is difficult to establish, however legend states that he requested to be buried before the High Altar.


King Edward II.

Born in 1284 and reigned from 1307 to 1327. The King’s funeral was held on 20 December 1327 and his coffin was placed under the floor. Sometime afterwards, presumably on the orders of his son, King Edward III, this stunning tomb was built over it. The canopy was carved from local Cotswold limestone and the base is covered with Purbeck marble. The King is depicted as a saintly figure with angels at his head; he holds a sceptre and an orb – the first time the orb appears on an English royal tomb.


The stunning vaulted ceiling

Once you have had a good look inside,  I highly recommend you take part in one of their tours to the crypt! The tours run quite often and you can’t go down there unsupervised because it is dark, but my sister and I paid a visit and absolutely loved it!

Our tour guide was fantastic and we learned so much about the history of the crypt, and of the Cathedral itself. You can buy tickets in the shop at the front of the cathedral – tickets are £3 each and the tours last around 20 minutes.


The crypt at Gloucester Cathedral is one of very few Norman crypts in the country and was used for praying, funerals and even to hide valuables during times of war and conflict. If you search for information about the crypt of Gloucester Cathedral you won’t find much, basically because so little is known about this mesmerising place!


We are usually very lucky with the weather on most of our family day trips out, and our visit to Gloucester Cathedral was no exception! We chose a beautiful bright and sunny day which meant we could get some great photos of this stunning building.

The only downside was that we visited when there is vast building work taking place outside the front of the building to design a new garden, so I had to do my best to crop the diggers and high fences out of my photos!

If you are hoping to visit when there isn’t any form of building work going on then you will have a while to wait! Project Pilgrim is a huge project which is taking place over an approximate ten year period!

The project is split into several different phases as follows:

External Works

The external re-landscaping will create (amongst other things) level access to the West door, provide more disabled car parking spaces and add a green space with plants and trees.

Internal Works

This phase will include the creation of a new glass entrance lobby and glass cloister door, and a new welcome area which is going to include a lovely glass model of the Cathedral to help visitors navigate their way around – I’m looking forward to seeing this!

Lady Chapel

This 15th Century area of the Cathedral will have major restoration and conservation work done which includes new lintels, new lighting, cleaning of the stonework and stain glass windows and installation of new radiators and underfloor heating.  Work is also being done to the external walls of the Lady Chapel including restoration and conservation of the existing stonework.

Solar Panels

The solar panels were added as part of the Church of England’s “Shrinking the footprint” campaign. The aim of the campaign is to reduce the Church of England’s carbon emissions by 80% by 2050! The solar panels were installed in November 2016 and will reduce Gloucester Cathedral’s energy costs by 25%.

There are also some lovely shops and tea rooms in the surrounding area of the Cathedral, including a Beatrix Potter shop which is well worth paying a visit! The Cathedral is also within walking distance of Gloucester Quays where you can find a shopping centre, loads of restaurants and brilliant themed food fayres throughout the year!




CocoChlo in Paris

Ooh la la!

What a beautiful place Paris is! So much to see and do and so much history! And so much style – I really don’t think there’s such a thing as being overdressed in a place like Paris!

I only spent a couple of days here but this is what I managed to fit in during my short visit:

Place de la Concorde

The Place de la Concorde is one of the major public squares in Paris and measuring 21.3 acres in area, it is the largest square in the French capital. Features of the Place include two identical stone buildings, separated by the Rue Royale. The eastern one houses the French Naval Ministry, and the western one is the Hôtel de Crillon. At each of the eight angles of the octagonal Place is a statue representing a French city:

  • Brest and Rouen by Jean-Pierre Cortot
  • Lyon and Marseille by Pierre Petitot
  • Bordeaux and Nantes by Louis-Denis Caillouette
  • Lille and Strasbourg by James Pradier


Luxor Obelisk

The centre of the Place is occupied by a giant Egyptian obelisk decorated with hieroglyphics exalting the reign of the pharaoh Ramesses II. The obelisk once marked the entrance to the Luxor Temple and is over 3000 years old! It is one of two the Egyptian government gave to the French in the 19th century – the other one stayed in Egypt, too difficult and heavy to move to France with the technology at that time. It arrived in Paris on 21 December 1833 and three years later, on 25 October 1836, King Louis Philippe had it placed in the centre of Place de la Concorde. In the 1990s, President François Mitterrand gave the second obelisk back to the Egyptians.

The obelisk, a yellow granite column, rises 23 metres high, including the base, and weighs over 250 tons! Given the technical limitations of the day, transporting it was no straight forward task and on the pedestal are diagrams explaining the machinery that was used as part of the transportation. Missing its original cap, believed stolen in the 6th century BC, the government of France added a gold-leafed pyramid cap to the top of the obelisk in 1998.



The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is an avenue in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, 1.2 miles long and 70 metres wide, running between the Place de la Concorde and the Place Charles de Gaulle, where the Arc de Triomphe is located. It is known for its theatres, cafés, and luxury shops, for the annual Bastille Day military parade, and as the finish of the Tour de France cycle race.

Palais Garnier

The Palais Garnier is a 1,979-seat opera house, which was built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. It was called the Salle des Capucines, because of its location on the Boulevard des Capucines in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, but soon became known as the Palais Garnier, in recognition of its opulence and its architect, Charles Garnier. The Paris Opera now mainly uses the Palais Garnier for ballet.

The Palais Garnier has been called “probably the most famous opera house in the world – partly due to its use as the setting for Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera and, especially, the novel’s subsequent adaptations in films and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s popular 1986 musical.

The beautiful building includes very elaborate multicolored marble friezes, columns, and statues, many of which portray deities of Greek mythology.


The two gilded figures on the apexes of the principal façade are Charles Gumery’s L’Harmonie (Harmony) and La Poésie (Poetry). They are both made of gilt copper electrotype. Bronze busts of many of the great composers are located between the columns of the theatre’s front façade and include Beethoven, Mozart and Spontini. 


The Ritz Hotel

The Hôtel Ritz is ranked among the most luxurious hotels in the world and is a member of “The Leading Hotels of the World”. The Ritz reopened on 6 June 2016 after a major four-year, multimillion-dollar renovation.

The hotel was founded by the Swiss hotelier, César Ritz, in collaboration with the chef Auguste Escoffier in 1898. The new hotel was constructed behind the façade of an 18th-century town house, overlooking one of Paris’s central squares. It quickly established a reputation for luxury, with clients including royalty, politicians, writers, film stars and singers. Several of its suites are named in honour of famous guests of the hotel, including Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway who lived at the hotel for years.


Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is a triumphal arch located in the Place du Carrousel. It was built between 1806 and 1808 to commemorate Napoleon’s military victories of the previous year. 

The monument is 19 metres high, 23 metres wide, and 7.3 metres deep. The 6.4 metre high central arch is flanked by two smaller ones, 4.3 metres high, and 2.7 metres wide. Around its exterior are eight columns of marble, topped by eight soldiers of the Empire.

The chariot atop the arch is a copy of the so-called Horses of Saint Mark that adorn the top of the main door of the St Mark’s Basilica in Venice.


Notre Dame

Notre-Dame is a medieval Catholic cathedral and is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, and it is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world.  The cathedral treasury contains a shrine, which houses some of Catholicism’s most important relics, including the purported Crown of Thorns, a fragment of the True Cross, and one of the Holy Nails.

Read more about Notre Dame here.


The Eiffel Tower and Parc Du Champs De Mars

The Eiffel Tower is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Constructed from 1887–89 as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, it was initially criticised by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but it has become one of the most recognisable structures in the world. The Eiffel Tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.91 million people visited it in 2015.

The tower is 324 metres tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building, and is the tallest structure in Paris. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to become the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years until the Chrysler Building in New York City was finished in 1930.

The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second levels. The top level’s upper platform is 276 metres above the ground – the highest observation deck in the European Union. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the climb from the first level to the second!!

The Champ de Mars is a large public space between the Eiffel Tower to the northwest and the École Militaire to the southeast. The park is named after the Campus Martius (“Mars Field”) in Rome, a tribute to the Latin name of the Roman God of war. The lawns here were formerly used as drilling and marching grounds by the French military.



Les Invalides 

Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building’s original purpose. The buildings house the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the Dôme des Invalides, a large church with the burial site for some of France’s war heroes, most notably Napoleon Bonaparte.


Grand Palais

The Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées, commonly known as the Grand Palais is a large historic site, exhibition hall and museum complex located at the Champs-Élysées. Construction of the Grand Palais began in 1897 following the demolition of the Palais de l’Industrie (Palace of Industry) as part of the preparation works for the Universal Exposition of 1900, which also included the creation of the adjacent Petit Palais and Pont Alexandre III.


Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile

The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, and is at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. The Arc de Triomphe has an overall height of 50 metres, width of 45 metres, and depth of 22 metres. It honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.


The Louvre

I had no idea just how huge the Louvre was! The Louvre is actually the world’s largest museum and is a central landmark of the city.  Approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres. The Louvre is the world’s second most visited museum, receiving 7.4 million visitors in 2016. We had planned to visit the Louvre but just did not have enough time to explore such a huge place! I was disappointed we didn’t get the chance to see the infamous Mona Lisa painting though!

The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property.  The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. The collection is divided among eight departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.




Inside the Louvre, find some world famous artifacts including:

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa – arguably the most famous painting in the world, due in large part to when she was stolen in 1911.

Great Sphinx of Tanis (Old Kingdom, 2600 BC, Old Kingdom) inscribed with the names of the pharaohs Ammenemes II, Merneptah & Shoshenq. Excavated in 1825 among the ruins of the Temple of Amun at Tanis, it’s one of the largest sphinxes outside of Egypt.

Venus de Milo (100 BC, Cyclades, Greece) Art Historians believe she’s a 100 BC replica, however she does have typical 5th Century BC details.

Winged Victory of Samothrace (190 BC, Ancient Greece) Her Hellenistic form merits her place as one of the Louvre’s top three most important pieces. During WWII she was evacuated with the Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s Slaves and Venus de Milo to Château de Valençay.

Luxembourg Palace and Gardens

The Luxembourg Palace was originally built (1615–1645) to the designs of the French architect Salomon de Brosse to be the royal residence of the regent Marie de’ Medici, mother of Louis XIII of France. After the Revolution it was refashioned (1799–1805) by Jean Chalgrin into a legislative building and subsequently greatly enlarged and remodeled (1835–1856) by Alphonse de Gisors. 

On the south side of the palace, the formal Luxembourg Garden presents a 25-hectare area of gravel and lawn adorned with statues and large basins of water where children sail model boats.


Sacré-Cœur and Bell Tower

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Sacré-Cœur Basilica was designed by Paul Abadie. Construction began in 1875 and was finished in 1914. It was consecrated after the end of World War I in 1919.

A mosaic in the apse, entitled Christ in Majesty, created by Luc-Olivier Merson, is among the largest in the world. It is absolutely stunning but unfortunately the use of cameras and video recorders is forbidden inside the Basilica.



Cruise along the Seine

I was a bit unsure about going along to our pre-booked trip on a boat along the Seine because the weather had been so unpredictable all day but I am so pleased we went in the end. All the buildings you travel alongside are lit up beautifully and stunning views of the Eiffel Tower make this a fantastic photo opportunity!

There are several places online you can pre-book tickets for your river cruise, including Seine Cruises and good old Viator.



A fantastic trip to a beautiful place! Paris is a centre for art, fashion, gastronomy and culture – what more can you ask for in a destination??

In Love with Lush – the Valentine’s Day collection

Hey my little love bugs! I hope you’ve all got something nice planned for Valentine’s Day? We don’t tend to do much ourselves, especially when it lands on a Wednesday like it has done this year, but I do like to make a nice meal and decorate the dining room table for the occasion!

Anyway, if like me you are still wading through all the remaining Christmas chocolates and sweets and biscuits, and fancy something a bit different, then the Valentine’s Day Lush collection might include something you fancy! Here are the products the 2018 collection is made up of:

Rose Bombshell Bath Bomb

I have actually already reviewed the Rose bombshell bath bomb as part of my regular Lush blogs but it is a brilliant Valentine’s Day bath bomb so I bought another one to treat myself! Plus I wanted to use the regular sized bath bomb to compare it to the GIANT rose bombshell bath bomb Lush have produced as part of their Valentine’s Day range!


It has a very potent flower smell – a sweet rose fragrance coupled with geranium and a slight lemony citrus aroma. I didn’t particularly enjoy this bath bomb the first time round, but this scent seems to be much more delicate, and no where near as overpowering – I wonder if Lush have adjusted the recipe for it, or whether I just had a really strong scented one the first time round? Either way, I enjoyed the rose bombshell far more this time around!

It is a fast fizzer (gone in only a few seconds!) and before you know it you have a lovely pink coloured rose scented bath water to relax in.

When the bomb is almost dissolved the centre opens up and spills out a handful of yellow rose petals, which is really lovely. As well as rose absolute, rose bombshell contains rose oil, sicilian lemon oil and geranium oil, which make it a very moisturising bath experience.


I’m really pleased I gave this bath bomb another try and am especially looking forward to trying the giant version now!

Unicorn Horn

I bought a whole batch of unicorn horns the last time they were available from the Lush kitchen but they have had a makeover for the Valentine’s Collection!


I used half of the Unicorn Horn in one go so this bubble bar will easily get you two baths worth. It looks amazing when you are chopping it up and when it is sprinkled under running bath water it creates beautiful bath art and mounds of lovely soft and fluffy bubbles!


The water is really soft and silky and incredibly moisturising due to the lovely oils Unicorn Horn contains – lavender, Ylang Ylang and Neroli. The smell of the bubble bar is predominately lavender but it is by no means overpowering and is incredibly relaxing. I don’t know whether Lush have changed the recipe but I’m sure I don’t remember my other Unicorn Horns smelling so much of lavender? I will have to dig out my bubble bar pots from the spare room and double check!


Anyway, I much prefer the look of the latest version and will always stock up on Unicorn Horns when they are released for a limited time so I’ll definitely be stocking up on a few on these to tie me over for a while!

Tisty Totsy Bath Bomb

I think Tisty Totsy was part of the regular Lush range but was discontinued. The original version was white, and now Lush have reinvented it and released it for a limited time as part of the Valentine’s Day range.


Tisty Totsy contains seven rosebuds as part of its decoration, and once the bath bomb has dissolved, the little rose buds float along the top of the water.

Tisty Totsy is similar in ingredients to the rose bombshell bath bomb in that it also contains rose absolute, geranium oil and lemon oil but with an added extra ingredient of jasmine absolute.


Tisty Totsy is a fast fizzer and soon the bath water is a lovely pink colour which smells of roses! I’m not a huge fan of rose scented products but this was really lovely and perfect for a Valentine’s Day evening bath! If you want to prepare the bathroom for your loved one to come home to on Valentine’s Day, then this is the bath bomb for that occasion!


The Kiss Lip Scrub

For all this time I thought that the Sugar Plum Fairy lip scrub scent was my favourite but oh my god, this is now my absolute favourite! These tubs of lip scrub last for ages but I am still going to go and buy two more when I next pop into my local Lush store, this lip scrub smells incredible and tastes even better when you are scrubbing your lips with it!


It is almost a fizzy sensation and contains both sugar and salt, a combination I really like but one which hasn’t been so well received by other Lushies! Thrown in with the fine sea salt and caster sugar is safflower oil, fair-trade organic cocoa butter, sicilian mandarin oil and almond essential oil to leave your lips soft and smooth and beautifully moisturised. As an added extra there are tiny little red edible hearts in the scrub as well! They look really cute but can be quite annoying when you are sat at work with random little red hearts scattered all across your chops! I thought people were looking at me strange!

I’ve done a couple of Valentine’s gift bags for my friends this year so I put a pot of The Kiss lip scrub in there for them! I hope they love it as much as I do!

Kiss Me Quick Wash Card

I wasn’t too sure what to make of these Wash Cards that Lush produce? I’ve seen some others for the range but have never really felt compelled to try them. As I was buying at least one of all the other products from the range I thought I would give it a go!


I wasn’t too sure what to make of these Wash Cards that Lush produce? I’ve seen some others for the range but have never really felt compelled to try them. As I was buying at least one of all the other products from the range I thought I would give it a go!

I like the smell of Kiss Me Quick – it contains fresh apple pulp, clove bud absolute, mimosa absolute and tonka absolute. Basically when you are in the shower or bath you rub the card over your skin until it produces a lovely smelling lather. Although I liked the scent, I wasn’t overly keen on the sensation of using the Kiss Me Quick wash card, it felt like I was rubbing an old piece of thin leather across my skin!


I used it sparingly as I got the impression the design of the product meant it wasn’t designed to last for several uses and, as expected, after only using it briefly, it started to fall apart and turn to mush! In the end I squashed the left over mush into my sponge and lathered it up with water but still, even for a one time use product, I don’t think I got much out of it!

It’s a good novel idea, and something which can be snuck into a Valentine’s Day card which is a nice touch but would I buy Kiss Me Quick or another style of wash card again? Probably not I’m afraid…..

Love Boat Bath Bomb

This was the one item I was really excited to try! What a brilliant idea! As I already love the Rocket Science and Yellow submarine bath bombs, I knew that Love Boat was not going to disappoint!


The top of Love Boat is pink and blue with a lovely pink heart on the front and the underneath is bright yellow with lots of tiny little red hearts which are released when the bath bomb dissolves and float around in the bath water.


Love Boat produces lovely thick colourful foam and this results in some of the most amazing bath art I’ve ever seen from a bath bomb!


My little boat took a bit of a nose dive but luckily this meant the little heart on the front detached from the boat and floated around the top of the water which looked lovely!



Love Boat has an amazing scent and contains sicilian lemon oil, organic sweet orange oil, and rose oil which is a lovely combination. The scent isn’t incredibly strong but is very relaxing and leaves your skin feeling lovely and soft – this is a definite favourite of mine! I’ve since bought three more but would really like Lush to make this part of their permanent range!


I’ve also popped a couple of these in my friends Valentine’s goody bags as I am sure they will love them!

Whole Lotta Love Bubbleroon

I love the design of this bubble bar but it is rather small…. I can’t see that you would get any more than two baths out of it, so I cut it in half and chopped it up and then sprinkled it under hot running water.


The bubbleroon makes a huge amount of bubbles and the water is really softening, the middle is very glittery but the glitter is really subtle when it is in the bath water. the water soon turns a lovely light pink colour and you are surrounded by lovely fluffy bubbles!!


Whole Lotta Love contains bergamot oil, jasmine absolute, lemongrass oil, rose absolute, ylang ylang absolute and gardenia extract. Due to the amount of other products from the range which contain rose scents, I was worried this one would be overpowering but the rose scent is very delicate, and compliments the bergamot and jasmine really well. It is a flowery scent but is also very refreshing and uplifting.

It leaves your skin feeling really soft and moisturised because it contains fair-trade organic cocoa butter, murumuru butter and organic shea butter! Lovely.


Not an absolute favourite but would definitely buy again and I think it would make a lovely Valentine’s Day present for those people who aren’t too fussed on chocolates and a bunch of flowers!

Heart of Enlightened Expectation Bubble Bar Melt


I messed up using this product for the first time because I completely misunderstood what type of a product it was! I looked at the word “melt” and basically sat it in the bath water and watched it floating about doing absolutely nothing! It was then I realised it is a hybrid product and is a bubble bar melt! So I fished him out of the water and crumbled it under the running water. I didn’t get too many bubbles out of it because the bath was already full when I realised and started crumbling it and swishing it about! You can’t win them all as they say!


Anyway, once I had crumbled it all into the bath, the water turned a lovely bright orange colour. Looking at the colour I was really surprised that it didn’t have an orange scent! It is in fact a delicate flower scent due to it containing geranium oil, bergamot oil, jasmine absolute, and rose absolute! I was really surprised when I read the ingredients because I am not a flowery scent fan, but I really loved this scent, probably because it was so delicate and subtle. This was one of the scents where I don’t want to get out of the bath because it feels like such a waste washing it all down the plughole never to be seen again, so I end up leaving the water in the bath long after I get out so the bathroom smells nice for hours afterwards!


This was also a moisturising bubble bar melt (but not so much so that you can’t wash your hair in the bath water for fear of making your hair really greasy) due to the fair trade organic cocoa butter and the ylang ylang oil it contains.

I wasn’t too bothered about the look or scent of this product but it is definitely one I would buy again, but I’ll try and use it for the purpose it was intended next time!

Melt My Heart Massage Bar

I’m still not completely sold on massage bars, not because of the type of product that they are but basically because I hate moisturising full stop! Whether it’s moisturising creams, gels, sprays, butters or these types of solid bars, moisturising really is just my least favourite thing!


The Melt my Heart massage bar is a good sized bar and every time I look at it I think to myself how much it looks like a bar of white chocolate!

I was a bit undecided about the scent of the massage bar but it is definitely a scent which has grown on me and smells far better once it is rubbed into your skin. Melt my Heart is made up of fair-trade organic cocoa butter, fair trade shea butter, safflower oil, dried rose petals, orris root powder, cypress oil, orange flower absolute and violet leaf absolute, so has quite an unusual combination of ingredients! I thought the overall scent was quite creamy (from the cocoa butter) as opposed to all the floral scents it contained, and to be honest I even kept forgetting the little red pieces in the bar were rose petals!

I used it quite a lot the first time so I could figure out what i really thought of the smell – it did grow on me when I started using it and the scent lasted a long time however I did find that after just one use I had worked my way through quite a bit of the product. I will carry on using it, but can’t see that it is going to last that long with regular use!

Cherryish Body Scrub

I’ve come across a lot of Lushies on Instagram who have said they aren’t keen on the smell of Cherryish, but I think it’s amazing! I used this body scrub once and I decided then and there that I was going to buy a couple more the next time I popped into Lush! So that is exactly what I did!


Cherryish is made up of some amazing ingredients – for exfoliation it contains fine sea salt, ground cherry stones and dried cherries (hence the name) and for moisturising it contains fair trade organic cocoa butter, murumuru butter, organic illipe butter, fair trade shea butter, almond essential oil and extra virgin coconut oil!

It also contains vegan white chocolate, cocoa absolute and fresh apple pulp! Wow!

This scrub is amazing, it is quite abrasive so really does the trick but is also incredibly nourishing on the skin due to all the wonderful oils it contains. I loved using this product so I think I will end up using it really quickly, it’s definitely my favourite body scrub so far!

Tunnel of Love Soap

I love, love, love the smell of this soap! I bought four more and put one in my Sister’s and friends Valentine’s gift bags, I hope they love the scent as much as I do!


Tunnel of Love is made with rose water, sweet wild orange oil and lime oil. I have to say I can barely detect the scent of rose water, but can definitely detect the lovely zesty smell of orange and lime. The soap produces lovely thick creamy bubbles which make your skin feel nice and soft and moisturised, the only down side with this soap is because I love the scent so much I used and used and re-used it loads of times throughout one shower, so I’d imagine I am going to get through each soap really, really quickly!

To keep your skin soft, Tunnel of Love also contains fair trade organic cocoa butter and extra virgin coconut oil – I seriously urge you to go and smell this in your local Lush store before they stop selling them – I wish they made this scent part of the permanent range. It is definitely one of my favourite scents so far and makes a perfect Valentine’s Day scent – delicate but refreshing and uplifting.

Tender is the Night Naked Shower Cream

I am still not completely sold by these Naked products. Don’t get me wrong I think they are a great idea to reduce on packaging and help reduce damage to the environment but I’m just not convinced they are all they are cracked up to be. I’ve written a separate blog on all the Naked products I’ve used so far which will be published in the next couple of weeks so I’ll leave it until then to go into any further detail….

Anyway, regardless of whether or not this product was a Naked product, I just can’t get used to it’s unusual smell! I don’t hate it, but there’s an ingredient in this scent which I’m just not keen on and I can’t quite figure out which one it is! It is really hard to explain but  it is almost like a musky smell…..


Although relatively small in size, Naked shower gels are double the concentrate of the liquid shower gels they should theoretically last for twice as long. A bit disappointing as I’m not a fan of this scent but still, they look ever so pretty in the bathroom!


Tender is the Night does lather up really well – I use a sponge to produce lots of fluffy soft bubbles – and does leave your skin feeling really soft. I didn’t feel like this scent was as concentrated as some of the other Naked products and didn’t find the smell to become much stronger when I was using it which I thought was pretty unusual.


Tender is the Night contains Jasmine flower infusion, ylang ylang flower infusion, murumuru butter, fair trade shea butter, jasmine absolute, ylang ylang oil, vanilla absolute – all ingredients which I love the scent of individually, so this is why I am just not sure why I don’t like the combination of them!

The butters in the shower gel leave your skin feeling lovely and soft and moisturised, but this isn’t a scent I would buy again, in any other kind of product. I’d be interested to know what any of you guys thought if you have smelled this scent or tried this product…..

Giant Rose Bombshell Bath Bomb

I couldn’t wait to try this!! A MASSIVE version of the rose bomb shell bath bomb! In the past I have bought the giant Golden Wonder and the giant Dragons egg bath bomb called Mother of Dragons and I am really loving the giant versions of these great products! Yes they are expensive (£14.95 for the giant rose bombshell bath bomb), but they create the most luxurious bath you will ever have!



Exactly the same as the smaller versions but on a much larger scale, this huge bath bomb fizzes away quite violently and spews out mounds of lovely yellow rose petals. Soon your bath water is a beautiful pink colour filled with petals floating around the surface. This is the perfect Valentine’s Day bath product! It doesn’t get much better than this!

The water is so soft and silky and the rose, lemon and germanium oil leave your skin feeling incredibly moisturised. I bought another one after using this one, I think I will save it until my Birthday next month! I wish the giant bath bombs were part of the permanent Lush range!


So there you have it! The Lush cosmetics Valentine’s Day range! I hope you’ve all had a lovely romantic and special Valentine’s Day with your loved ones!

Valentine’s Day treats!

I never used to make an effort for Valentine’s Day, hubby and I always used to get each other a nice card, but I was never really sold on all of the red fluffy toys, fake red roses and red underwear! I love eating out but Valentine’s Day means all of the restaurants are absolutely jam-packed and are usually offering some sort of set menu, and I find that I don’t like the majority of food they have on offer!

So, to be honest, we usually stay at home and have a nice dinner together. My usual go to place is Marks and Spencers for their dine in for two Valentine’s Day offer for £20, which always has a nice selection of things we both like.

Last year I made a bit more of an effort and bought some lovely red roses for the dinner table, bought us a lovely three course meal and made us up a gift bag each with treats and presents in. We had a real nice time last year so I wanted to do something similar this year again.

Anyway, here are some of the lovely treats and presents which have caught my eye for this years Valentine’s Day:

Marks and Spencers chocolate heart filled with chocolate ganache and decorated with gold leaf – £3.00.


Marks and Spencer’s chocolate hearts (4 pack) – £1.50. I thought these were lovely and really reasonably priced so I bought a few packs for my friends to put in their Valentine’s Day gifts bags!


Marks and Spencers Pink Himalayan Salted Caramels – £6.00. I gave in and bought these for myself! I had a peek inside the box and they look really pretty! Can’t wait to try these! Let’s hope I can resist eating them all before Valentine’s Day!



Marks and Spencers red Love You Heart – I love these little chocolate hearts – and they are only 50p each!


Morrison’s Heart Marshmallow Biscuit lollipop – £1.00. This didn’t last long after I bought it! I loved the fluffy mallow inside!


Dr Oetker Heart Marshmallows – £1.00. I found these in Morrison’s but I’m sure other supermarkets will sell these too – perfect for a Valentine’s hot chocolate!



Morrison’s Valentine’s jammy heart biscuit – £1.00. Hubby scoffed this one before I had the chance to hide it!


Morrisons gingerbread hearts – £2.00 for this bag of one big gingerbread heart and three small gingerbread hearts.

Hotel Chocolat Salted caramel hearts – £3.50 – delicious!

Hotel Chocolat Raspberry daiquiri hearts – £3.50 – I bought a few of these for friends  and family and put them in their Valentine’s gift bag.

Hotel Chocolat dark chocolate heart melts – £5.50 – got these for Mum as she only likes dark chocolate! I hope she likes them!


Waitrose gingerbread hearts – £2.00 – these little bags of pink iced gingerbread hearts are lovely.


And to put all these lovely sweet treats in I bought these lovely gift bags from Clinton cards for £2.50 each


If food and sweet things aren’t really your thing – how about some nice Valentine’s themed jewellery? These are just some of the lovely items I’ve come across in the last few weeks –

Rose detail chain bracelets from ASOS – £8.00 – great for a Beauty and the Beast fan! They’ve also got matching hoop earrings and a set of five rings!


I love these Ted Baker Crystal Heart earrings – £29.00 from ASOS!


Or, this handy “LOVE” ring holder from Next for £6.00?


Who knew they did Valentine’s themed handbags?? These are my favourites so far:

This heart coin purse from ASOS is only £8.00 – bargain!


How cute is this SkinnyDip heart crossover body bag – again from ASOS and only £30.00 – I love the faux fur detail!


If you are willing to spend a bit more on a Valentine’s themed bag then I love this red Dune heart bag for £65.00.


And, believe it or not, Valentine’s Day SHOES!!!! I love these Mistress barely there sandals from Dune for £85.00.


Plus I’ve spotted these gorgeous babies on Instagram and I am desperate to get my hands on a pair! They are by ALDO but for some reason they don’t stock them on their UK website????? My quest continues! They do them in red too…


If you are having a cosy night in then what about some Valentine’s pyjamas?? There are hundreds to choose from on sites like ASOS, Very, Next, Boohoo…. the list goes on!

My absolute favourites are these Mr and Mrs Pyjama sets from Next – £22.00 for women’s and £24.00 for men’s. I’m so disappointed as I went to order these for hubby and I but they are completely sold out in the men’s sizes! Gutted! I knew I should have ordered them when I first saw them!




And if all of this doesn’t float your boat this Valentine’s Day, I’ve reviewed the entire Lush Cosmetics Valentine’s Day range and I can assure you there is bound to be something from their collection which you will love! My blog on their Valentine’s range goes live tomorrow to mark the big day, so watch this space!

Goodbye Mr Skibba

I can’t believe I am writing this. Today we lost our little ray of sunshine, Skibbadee the Shar-Pei. Hubby and I are both absolutely devastated, we are sat here not knowing what to do with ourselves, or how to deal with the silence which now consumes our home.


He turned 11 last November, so had a good long life for a pedigree dog. We were worried at how long the house move last year was taking, as we desperately wanted him to make it to our new home, and he had been ill on and off for a few months, but thank god we finally moved in December, and he settled into the new home like he had been here forever, especially enjoying lying in front of the roaring fire.


I arrived home yesterday and hubby said he would be working late so I walked Skibba on our usual walk, but something felt very different this time. I think it’s because we went earlier so it was still nice and light, and so it was like he was seeing everything in a new light, and for the first time. He skipped along and had a sniff of the snowdrops and daffodils which were starting to come through and we made our way home, happy after a nice long walk. He had his dinner as normal and hubby got home from work at around 9pm and gave him a hug and a kiss like he normally does, and then went off to bed after nearly a 15 hour day. I wasn’t far behind him, I was hoping to get up early for work the next morning.


I woke up in the night, firstly around 2:30am, because I heard the dog flap banging backwards and forwards. We only put the dog flap in a few weeks ago and had been encouraging Lola (Skibba’s younger sister) to go through it, but being as we are firm believers “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, and because of how stubborn he is, we didn’t even bother showing Skibba how to use it. The training wasn’t going particularly well as Lola was only going through the dog flap when you held treats either side of it, so the training had fallen by the wayside really, which was why I was so shocked to hear the dog flap open and close.

I panicked at first that maybe a burglar was trying to reach through the dog flap to gain access, but when the light came on in the back garden, I looked out expecting to see that Lola had finally picked up the hint and used the dog flap. I was astounded when I looked out to see Skibba in the garden and, after I had realised I wasn’t dreaming, smiled and thought to myself what a good boy he is! He was secretly watching the whole time and had figured out all by himself how to use the dog flap!! It was strange because he didn’t go to the toilet whilst he was outside, he just slowly wandered around the garden, stopped now and then and had a good look at it, huffed a few times, and then wandered back to the back door. I smiled myself at what a good dog he was for using the dog flap, until he started barking loudly and repeatedly for me to come and let him back in! I huffed and stomped down the stairs and told him off for having the sense to go out one way but not get back in the same way, and then went back off to bed. The exact same thing happened again at 4:00am and again just before 6:00am, I had no idea what he was up to or what he was trying to do, but I was so tired at the time, it just all felt a bit surreal and dream like. I went back upstairs after the last garden adventure at 6:00am and went to go back to bed for a bit. I had planned to get up early to go to work so I could have an early Friday finish, but couldn’t face it when I had been up and down with him throughout the night.

Hubby went downstairs about an hour later and immediately called me – Skibba was lying on the sofa downstairs and his stomach was swollen up like a balloon. He was so uncomfortable he could barely move. I googled dogs swollen stomach and the results were pretty damning – it suggested that it could be gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) which is fatal to dogs within hours if untreated. It is so dangerous in fact, that vets call it the “mother of all emergencies”. I knew we had to get him to the vet, and very quickly. I rang the out of hours vet just after 7am and we arranged to get him in straight away. I said to the vet on the phone I didn’t think we would be able to move him in his current state and the vet said we had no choice, he had to operate.

I couldn’t have been prouder of our little ray of sunshine at that moment, he carefully climbed off the sofa and walked to the door, had a goodbye kiss from his sister Lola and managed to jump into the car and then out again when we arrived at the vets. He must have been in so much pain but he was so, so brave, I was so, so proud of him.


The vet arrived shortly after we did. He gave us the option of putting Skibba through the operation, which is a very complicated one, and one that is especially risky at his age, or to put him straight to sleep. We were obviously both hysterical by this point, and you never know which is the best option for the animal, so I turned to Skibba and I said “do you want to try the operation Mr Skibba, or have you had enough?” he looked up at me and I said again “do you want to try?” and he wagged his tail, and walked off slowly through the examination room doors and into the back of the vets where the operating theatre was! I’ve never seen anything like it, but actually made the decision to try by having the life saving operation.

We followed him out the back and gave him a hug and a kiss and told him we loved him. He led the vet through to the operating room, no panic, no fear, no showing off. Now this sounds like perfectly normal behaviour for a well behaved dog, but for those of you who know how nervous and scatty and highly strung and frightened of the vets Skibba normally is, you would agree with me that this really was no less than a miracle.

The vet said the operation itself would take about an hour and he would ring us as soon as he had any news. We got back into the car in the vets car park and cried our eyes out for a good fifteen minutes, and then made our way home to wait for news.

We knew it was bad news when the vet rang my mobile before we had even arrived home. He said he had got part way through the operation but unfortunately Skibba’s heart had stopped and he passed away on the operating table. We of course knew that his chances of recovery had been slim, but to be told he was no longer with us is a feeling I really can’t put into words.  The nearest I can get to describing it is when my husband says “it feels like your world is ending”. I totally agree.


We came home and cried and cried and cried. It was hard to know what to do with ourselves sat at home overcome by grief. We tried to sleep but couldn’t, a few family members popped over to show their support, we walked Lola at Skibba’s favourite place, Painswick Beacon, and tried to sleep again but to no avail. Even now I expect him to come trotting into the room to ask for a walk or his dinner, and when I’m lying on the sofa or in bed, I can imagine him stood there next to me so vividly, that on more than one occasion I have reached out to stroke him.

We are just grateful we found him early on and got him to the vets as quickly as we could, and that we were both there to say goodbye to him. If we had both left for work early like we had planned, and he had been left with Lola for hours, god knows what would have happened. He could have been unable to move and in pain for several hours until he passed away right there on the sofa, where we would have found him when we got home. It doesn’t even bear thinking about.

We are also so grateful he made the move to our new house, so he could see our forever home and we would have memories of him enjoying his time here. We are also so pleased that he had an amazing family Christmas with us in our new home. I just wish he had made it to the Spring and Summer so he could have explored his new garden properly and enjoyed basking in the sunshine, he loved doing that at our old house.



We are now very worried about how his younger sister Lola is going to cope with all of this – how do you explain to a dog that her older brother isn’t coming home? She seems quiet but that could be because she hasn’t got Skibba to play with – I’m not sure how much of it she understands really.

Anyway, we will take things day by day and hopefully over time things will get easier. I’m trying to remember all the good times we had with Mr Skibba, and talking about them with hubby today we have filled nearly a day’s conversation with stories and memories and reminders of our precious first dog.

We collected Skibba when he was around 12 weeks old. We travelled a long distance to pick him up from Carmarthen, and he was a pain in the butt from the second we brought him home!

Mr Skibba you see, didn’t believe he was a dog. In fact, I’m sure for several years of his life, if not all of the years of his life, he believed he was human! He wanted to eat the same things as us, do the same things as us, and of course, sleep on the same bed as us!


And sleep he did!!! A LOT!!!! On a memory foam mattress too! In fact, after going through several hundred photographs together earlier, hubby and I realised he probably spent 99.9% of his time asleep or dozing on the sofa or in bed!







To say he was not a fan of other dogs was an understatement. Human’s he adored, dogs however, he had a tendency to fall out with, A LOT!

When we brought Lola home after re-homing her around 5 years ago, we thought this may change his perception of other dogs and help him socialise. We thought when we brought her through the front door he would be forever grateful that we had brought him this lovely friend for him, but instead, he gave us a look which was to say “what on earth have you brought THAT home for??”. For several days afterwards he gave us the same look as if to say “it’s been ok, but I think she should go home now”. Poor Skibby!

Anyway, although he tried to carry on with this “I hate my sister” act for several years, we knew deep down he loved her, and he really enjoyed her company. You would often find them snuggled up together, her resting her head on him.



I can’t even begin to say how much hubby and I, and the rest of our family, are going to miss him. It’s only been a few hours, and we already miss him beyond comprehension. We love you Skibba, I hope you are dancing over the clouds and eating tonnes of your favourite sausages up in doggy heaven. There is a huge void in our hearts which will never be filled, I just hope things become easier as time goes on.

We love you always our precious boy xxx

Skibba loved his Dad more than life itself. Never have I ever known a dog love his owner more than Skibba loved Ben
And there was an extra special place in Skibba’s heart for his Auntie Mel
Mr Skibba’s favourite place to run was Painswick Beacon
Love you always our precious boy xxx

A short trip to Venice

As I am writing this Venice blog and uploading my photos from a while back (Venice was one of the first places I ever travelled to!) I am thinking I will need to go back as soon as possible as I went when I had a really rubbish cheap camera which explains the really poor quality photos!! Sorry!!

I only spent a very short while in Venice, it was really just a whistle stop tour as part of our grand tour of Italy. One thing I will say about Venice and that is it must be seen to be believed! It really is unlike anywhere else in the World!

Whilst I was there, as well as consuming ridiculous amounts of amazingly tasty gelato, I also managed to have a snoop at the following:

St Marks Square

Otherwise known as Piazza San Marco, St Marks Square is the main public square of Venice. At the eastern end of the square is the great St Mark’s Basilica.


St Mark’s Basilica

From the 11th century onwards the building has been known by the nickname Chiesa d’Oro (Church of gold) due to its grand design and gold mosaics.

The interior is based on a Greek cross, with each arm divided into three naves with a dome of its own as well as the main dome. The marble floor is entirely designed in geometric patterns and animal designs. The lower part of the walls and pillars is covered with marble slabs. In typical Italian style it is very ornate!




St Mark’s Campanile 

St Mark’s Campanile is the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica and it is one of the most recognisable symbols of the city.

The tower is 98 metres tall, and stands alone in a corner of St Mark’s Square, near the front of the basilica. It is 12 metres wide on each side and 50 metres tall, above which is an open room surrounding the belfry, which houses five bells. The tower is capped by a spire, where on top sits a golden weathervane in the form of the archangel Gabriel.




The Clock Tower 

The Clock Tower was completed in 1499, above a high archway where the street known as the Merceria leads through shopping streets to the Rialto, (the commercial and financial centre). 

The Clock Tower is an early Renaissance building and although both the tower and the clock date from the very end of the 15th century, the mechanism of the clock has been much altered since then. The lower two floors of the tower make a monumental archway into the main street of the city.


Doge’s Palace

The Doge’s Palace is a palace built in Venetian Gothic style, and is one of the main landmarks of Venice. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice. Today, it is one of the 11 museums run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.

Doge’s Palace has a LOT of history! Too much to detail in a blog – you can read more about it here.


Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs is made of white limestone, has windows with stone bars, and passes over the Rio di Palazzo. It connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace.

The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge’s name comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells.



Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge is one of four bridges which span the Grand Canal. It is the oldest bridge across the canal, and was the dividing line for the districts of San Marco and San Polo.

The present stone bridge was finally completed in 1591 and is similar to the wooden bridge there before it.  The bridge has defied critics to become one of the architectural icons of Venice.



You can’t visit Venice without going on a Gondola ride! It’s the best way to admire the city and get an up close look at some of the beautiful architecture! Plus it is fascinating to watch the guys steering the gondolas along the winding streets and under some VERY low bridges! It’s truly an art!




Venice is a lovely place with very interesting history – you can get some fantastically cheap deals to Venice these days and a long weekend is the perfect amount of time to spend here.

If that isn’t enough to persuade you to book up and go then just remember, Venice may not be around forever as it is slowly sinking year on year due to rising sea levels from climate change! Although the levels are only said to be rising around 1mm a year, don’t forget Venice is already prone to flooding during high tides….it’s quite daunting to hear the sirens going off to warn you of an incoming flood tide!!!

New Orleans, A journey to the Deep South

We visited New Orleans mainly for the Mardi Gras celebrations (see my Mardi Gras blog!) but during our few days here we managed to fit in so much more besides! New Orleans is a truly beautiful place, I really I hope I get the opportunity to go back again someday.

Here’s some of the other amazing things we managed to see and do during our trip to the Big Easy:

Jackson Square

Jackson Square is an historic park in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960, for its central role in the city’s history, and as the site where in 1803 Louisiana was made United States territory pursuant to the Louisiana Purchase. In 2012 the American Planning Association designated Jackson Square as one of America’s Great Public Spaces.


St Louis Cathedral

The Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France (also called St. Louis Cathedral) is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans and is the oldest cathedral in the United States. The first church on the site was built in 1718; the third, built in 1789, was raised to cathedral rank in 1793. The cathedral was expanded and largely rebuilt in 1850, with little of the 1789 structure remaining.

The cathedral is said to be haunted by Fr. Antonio de Sedella, more commonly known as Père Antoine. He was a priest at the cathedral and his body is buried within the church. He is said to walk the alley named after him next to the cathedral in the early mornings. Accounts of his apparitions by parishioners and tourists claim that he appears during Christmas Midnight Mass near the left side of the altar, holding a candle.

Another haunting is said to take place in the cathedral by Père Dagobert, a monk who resided in the church. It is said that his voice can be heard chanting the Kyrie on rainy days….

Luckily we didn’t encounter Père Antoine or Père Dagobert during our visit!


The Cabildo

The Cabildo was the seat of Spanish colonial government, and is now a museum. It is adjacent to St. Louis Cathedral.

The original Cabildo was destroyed in the Great New Orleans Fire (1788). The Cabildo was rebuilt between 1795–99 as the home of the Spanish municipal government in New Orleans, and the third floor with mansard roof was later added, in French style. The building took its name from the governing body who met there — the “Illustrious Cabildo,” or city council. The Cabildo was the site of the Louisiana Purchase transfer ceremonies late in 1803, and continued to be used by the New Orleans city council until the mid-1850s.


Pontalba Building

The Pontalba Buildings form two sides of Jackson Square, they are matching red-brick, one-block-long, four‑story buildings built in the late 1840s by the Baroness Micaela Almonester Pontalba. The ground floors house shops and restaurants; and the upper floors are apartments which, reputedly, are the oldest continuously-rented such apartments in the United States.


The French Quarter

The French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carré, is the oldest neighbourhood in the city of New Orleans.

The district as a whole has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, with numerous contributing buildings that are deemed significant.  Due to its distance from areas where the levee was breached during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as well as the strength and height of the nearest Mississippi River Levees in contrast to others along the canals and lakefront, it suffered only relatively light damage from floodwater compared to other areas of the city.



Saint Louis Cemetery

Saint Louis Cemetery is the name of three Roman Catholic cemeteries in New Orleans. Most of the graves are above-ground vaults constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The above-ground tombs in New Orleans cemeteries are often referred to as “cities of the dead.” Enter the cemetery gates, and you will find decorative ironwork, sun-bleached tombs and stunning crosses and statues. It seems weird visiting such a place as a tourist, but I’m pleased we paid our respects to such a beautiful peaceful place.


Early settlers struggled with different methods to bury their dead. If you dig only a few feet down in New Orleans, the grave becomes soggy and begins filling with water which results in the coffin literally floating. Even worse, after a rainstorm, the rising water would pop the airtight coffins out of the ground. To this day in New Orleans, unpredictable flooding still lifts the occasional coffin out of the ground in areas generally considered to be safe from flooding.


Eventually, New Orleans’ graves were kept above the ground, following the Spanish custom of using vaults. The walls of some cemeteries here are made of vaults stacked on top of one another, while wealthier families could afford the larger, ornate tombs with crypts. Many family tombs look like miniature houses, complete with iron fences. The rows of tombs resemble streets–and this is why New Orleans burial plots quickly became known as cities of the dead.

We visited St. Louis cemetery number 3 which is located about two miles from the French Quarter. The cemetery opened in 1854 and the crypts on average are more elaborate than the other St. Louis cemeteries, including a number of fine 19th century marble tombs.

St. Louis No. 3 also includes a Greek Orthodox section. The cemetery was heavily flooded during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but its tombs escaped relatively unscathed other than some plaster damage from debris.


The Mississippi River

The picture I took of the river looks really cold and wet…. because it was! I couldn’t stand there in the cold for much longer to take a photograph so I’m afraid this was the best one I have!

The Mississippi River is the chief river of the second largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. Flowing entirely in the United States (although its drainage basin reaches into Canada), it rises in northern Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for 2,320 miles to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.


New Orleans Street Cars

Streetcars in New Orleans have been an integral part of the city’s public transportation network since the first half of the 19th century. The longest of New Orleans’ streetcar lines, the St. Charles Avenue line, is the oldest continuously operating street railway system in the world.

There are currently five operating streetcar lines in New Orleans: The St. Charles Avenue Line, the Riverfront Line, the Canal Street Line (which has two branches), and the Loyola Avenue Line and Rampart/St. Claude Line (which are operated as one through-routed line). The St. Charles Avenue Line is the only line that has operated continuously throughout the wide destruction by Hurricane Katrina and subsequent floods from the levee breaches in August 2005.


Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation is an historic plantation located on the west bank of the Mississippi River, in the community of Vacherie, St. James Parish, Louisiana.

Oak Alley is named for its distinguishing visual feature, an alley created by a double row of southern live oak trees about 800 feet long,  which were planted in the early 18th century — long before the present house was built. 

The mansion has a square floor plan, arranged around a central hall that runs from the front to the rear on both floors. The rooms feature high ceilings and large windows and the exterior features a free-standing colonnade of 28 Doric columns on all four sides that correspond to the 28 oak trees in the alley.

The grounds include a formal garden that separates the mansion from the old garage. The old car garage is the temporary site for the sugarcane Theater, where the history of sugarcane cultivation is explained through a video and exhibits. A blacksmith shop and the Stewart graveyard are also on the grounds.

The film “Interview with a Vampire” was filmed here!





Carriage Rides

I’d highly recommend taking a carriage ride while you’re in New Orleans – the tours are expensive but the drivers are so knowledgeable – you can learn a great deal during your 90 minute journey.  The carriages take you past the many landmarks of New Orleans, including Bourbon Street, the Mississippi, and Jackson Square.


Food-wise there are so many amazing places to eat in New Orleans, but I would highly recommend a visit to Cafe Du Monde!

When you are there, order a Cafe Au Lait (coffee with hot milk) and Beignets (a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar served in orders of three). They are absolutely delicious! Be warned – Cafe Du Monde gets VERY busy – be prepared to queue!


On our travels around the city we also tried jambalaya – a dish consisting of meat and vegetables mixed with rice. The meat usually includes smoked sausage such as andouille, along with some other meat or seafood, frequently pork, chicken, crawfish, or shrimp.

We also tried gumbo – a stew that consists of a strong stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and what Louisianians call the “Holy Trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers, and onions. I highly recommend trying both – very delicious!

Drinks wise, as I say in my Mardi Gras blog – definitely give the Hurricane cocktail a try – a famous cocktail created by New Orleans tavern owner Pat O’Brien consisting of dark rum, white rum, over-proofed rum, passionfruit syrup and lemon juice. In the 1940s, Pat O’Brien needed to create a new drink to help him get rid of all of the less-popular rum that local distributors forced him to buy before he could get a few cases of more popular liquors such as scotch and other whiskeys. He poured the concoction into hurricane lamp–shaped glasses and gave it away to sailors, hence the name.

A definite place to add to your bucket list to visit – New Orleans is one of my favourite destinations out of all of the amazing places I’ve visited so far!

Sugar Tits Bakery!

Hello fellow tasty treat lovers! Have I got a special one for you in todays blog! Another golden Instagram find, introducing – Sugar Tits Bakery!

Sugar Tits have a large range of products which I have noticed are updated very regularly. Most products can be ordered online and delivered around the United Kingdom but there are also some incredible items you can order which are delivered in and around the London area – god I wish I lived in London sometimes (seriously – check out their Galaxy Glitter Bomb Brownies!!)

Here are just a couple of the tasty treats I’ve ordered from them so far:

Bling Box

An amazing box filled with ten fluffy mini bling donuts and ten squishy mini bling brownies. The lovely soft brownies are loaded with white chocolate chunks and the donuts have nutmeg and cinnamon in for a deliciously comforting taste!


These amazing bling boxes come in three metallic shades of gold, silver and even rose gold! They would make amazing gifts for friends!


They should be eaten straight away but will last up to a week if they are kept in an airtight container.


Fairy Floss (The Retro Revival pack)


This pack of three delicious Fairy Flosses includes the following amazing flavours –


A pack of Galaxy inspired candyfloss with starry sprinkles and sherbet flying saucers!


Cola Ice Cream Float

Cola and ice cream candy floss with cola bottles and chewy ice cream sweets!


Banana Split

Banana and ice cream flavour candy floss with banana foam sweets and rainbow sprinkles!


Each individual bag measures 12cm x 20cm and the Candy floss lasts for up to a month when stored in a cool dry place.

Another idea for using the Fairy Floss is to add it to your favourite cocktails or prosecco which seems to be the latest craze at the moment!

Other Fairy Floss flavours are available from Sugar Tits Bakery including Peaches and Cream and Rhubarb and Custard!!

“If you can’t” Cookies


A box of twelve lemon shortbread cookies covered with a lovely fondant icing and embossed the wording “If you can’t handle this sass then you can’t handle this ass”! Very sassy indeed!



Other themed cookies are available from Sugar Tits, including some which say “Girl Gang” and “Sassy and Bad Assy!” Brilliant!

The next couple of items I want to try are the Skull Rainbow Chocolates – A box of eight cookies ‘n’ cream chocolates made with white chocolate and loaded with Oreo cookie pieces and the Unicorn Bark – Beautiful brightly swirled strawberry white chocolate with a rainbow of candy treats, cookie pieces and unicorn sprinkles sprinkled on top! Aren’t they fabulous?? They have lots of products which are ideal as gifts for friends too!

Plus this week they posted on Instagram to say they had made Jade from Little Mix’s Birthday cupcakes! Amazing!

Addicted to Lush Take Five

Hopefully you have been reading my previous blogs containing reviews of products from the regular Lush collection. These have been slightly interrupted over the last few months to make way for the Halloween and Christmas editions but we are back to the regular collection for now!

Having said that, keep your eyes peeled in February for my blog on the Lush Valentines collection!

Butterball Bath Bomb

The Butterball scent is one of Lush’s most popular scents – the cocoa butter content make it really popular, especially in the winter months when your skin could do with as much moisturising as possible.


The Butterball is a very small and plain looking bath bomb, and is designed to moisturise and hydrate the skin. It has sweet vanilla scent around it, and the ylang ylang provides a slightly fruity floral scent.

The Butterball is a loud little fizzer which releases foam containing small bubbles of cocoa butter which look like small blobs of oil and float on the surface. The oil coats your skin and makes it feel incredibly soft and moisturised. I didn’t need to use my normal moisturiser but if you suffer from greasy hair (like I do!), don’t wash your hair in this or it may be like an oil slick for the next few days!


Not an exciting looking bath bomb but definitely one I will be stocking up on for using in the cold wet winter months! Perfect for a lovely warm bath after a cold day out in the wind and rain!

If you have read my Christmas blogs you may have seen the Christmas edition of Butterball, known as Butterbear! I learned after using both Butterball and Butterbear that they are small and mighty because they are designed to be used alongside a regular bath bomb to provide that extra kick of moisture! I will definitely give this a go next time I use a Butterball!

Ickle Baby Bot Bath Bomb 

This tiny little bath bomb is actually designed for babies and toddlers, basically to help them get off to sleep, but seeing as I often suffer from terrible insomnia, I thought it would be worthwhile giving it a try!


The scent of Ickle Baby Bot is a gentle lavender scent and the bath bomb contains sandalwood oil and chamomile oil.

It is a really fast fizzer, and due to its size, it was gone ever so quickly. The scent is incredibly mild and, although the bath water went a nice shade of blue, it didn’t stretch very far. I assume this is because it is designed to be used in a small baby bath, rather than a very full, deep adult sized bath! If you want to give this bath bomb a go, perhaps buy a couple of them for a stronger scent and a more effective bath. It is priced at £1.90, so even buying a couple of them would be cheaper than most of the bath bombs from the range.


Overall I am afraid this really didn’t do much for me and it isn’t a product I would probably buy again, but a great product for children and babies!

Brightside Bubble Bar

This is a good sized bubble bar and will easily last you for at least three or four baths – unless of course you are feeling particularly indulgent!


Brightside contains tangerine oil and mandarin oil which I absolutely love – it is so refreshing and uplifting and zesty! This bubble bar is designed to reduce stress and combat restlessness. It also contains bergamot oil, which is designed to improve circulation and relieve muscle tension.

Simply cut as much as you want to use off your bubble bar and then crumble it under running water, or cut it up and store in an airtight container to use as and when you need it.


The smell is lovely whilst you are in the bath and stays on your skin for a long time afterwards!

The bath water goes a lovely orange colour and the bubble bar makes mounds and mounds of lovely fluffy bubbles! I really didn’t want to get out of the bath!! A definite favourite scent and very moisturising, I’ll definitely be buying more of these!

Whoosh Shower Jelly

Shower jellies are a very strange product, and to be honest, probably one of my least favourite products. I just find them very strange to work with, and more often than not, a lot of effort for little return!

The reason I buy them is because they come in such amazing scents, and Whoosh is no exception to this!


There are several ways that you can use the shower jelly – firstly, you can rub the whole block, or a broken-off piece, directly onto your skin (although this is not my preference as it is very difficult to keep hold of the slippery sucker!)

Secondly, you can break off a piece around the size of a ten pence piece and then rub it into your sponge to lather up before rubbing it into your skin. Some Lushies get the block out of its pot and cut it into bite sized chunks and then store it back in the pot so it is ready to go when they next need it, so I gave this a try.

The other thing about shower jellies is that you can keep them in the fridge or freezer, ideal for using in the showers on those hot sticky summer days!

It lathers up really well once you get the hang of using them and the jelly version of Lush’s shower gels do seem to go a lot further than their liquid counterparts.

A small chunk of the jelly will easily be enough to clean you from head to toe! The downside to shower jellies? They are so difficult to keep hold of (slippery suckers!) which unfortunately can result in a lot of the product breaking off, falling apart and then being washed down the plughole! Not good!

Yellow Submarine Bath Bomb

I love the look of this relatively new bath bomb and I’ve been really looking forward to using it! It’s main ingredients are orange, coriander and lemon grass! Very refreshing!


As soon as this bath bomb hit the water it made a lot of lovely creamy thick yellow and pink coloured foam. It’s a slow release bath bomb and is really quiet!

Once the bomb has dissolved you are left with lovely orange bath water! I really loved the scent of Yellow Submarine but it wasn’t quite strong enough for me and the smell did seem to fade quite quickly, which was bit disappointing!

Although the smell isn’t strong enough for me I do love the scent and would definitely buy it again, my skin was lovely and soft afterwards and I found this bath bomb to be really relaxing…A really cute design with a lovely scent, just make the scent stronger please Lush!

Intergalactic Bath Bomb

Oh my god I love this bath bomb! Intergalactic along with Fizzbanger (now discontinued – annoying!) and Dragon’s Egg are my favourite bath bombs! If I had to choose my favourite out of the three I think it would be this one!


Intergalactic contains popping candy (need I say more?!) and really is one of the most stunning bath bombs on the market. If you want to start adding #bathart to your Instagram account then this is definitely the bath bomb for you!

It’s a lovely looking bath bomb – a vivid blue colour with streaks of pink and yellow throughout. The key ingredients are peppermint, cedarwood and vetivert oil, which make this bath bomb a very minty, fresh and uplifting bath bomb.

This is a fast fizzing bath bomb which creates trails of thick blue foam before the pink, white and yellow elements begin appearing, creating an almost “galaxy” like appearance across the surface of the water. The bath water is also filled with a lovely golden lustre, adding to the beautiful display and crackling noises of the popping candy. The bath water ends up as a beautiful shade of blue – it’s hard to explain, but again it is very deep-space galaxy like!


This bath bomb is very moisturising and the peppermint oil in it also make it very cooling on the skin – an ideal summer bath bomb. This one is an absolute must, must try!

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the latest batch of Lush products I’ve used! I’m slowly working my way through the HUGE stash I currently have which is now mostly made up of seasonal products! Keep an eye out for next months blog which as I said earlier will be a review of the Valentines Day collection – I’m really looking forward to trying these amazing looking products!


A day in Amsterdam

I only spent the day in Amsterdam but enjoyed it so much I booked to go back again for another weekend only a couple of months later! There’s lots to see and do here and it’s unlike anywhere else I have visited!


Some of the things I would recommend seeing and doing during your stay in Amsterdam (in between your visits to the infamous Amsterdam coffee shops!) include:

Anne Franks House

The Anne Frank House is a house and museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. During World War II, Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the 17th-century canal house, known as the Secret Annexe. Anne Frank did not survive the war, but in 1947 her wartime diary was published.

The museum opened on 3 May 1960. It preserves the hiding place, has a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, and has an exhibition space about all forms of persecution and discrimination. In 2013 and 2014, the museum had 1.2 million visitors and was the 3rd most visited museum in the Netherlands, after the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.

We did have to wait a long time in the queue to get in so it may be worth while pre-booking your tickets. Entry fees are 9 euros for an adult ticket and I would really recommend it, it is a really moving and interesting place to visit.

Dam Square

Dam Square is the town square in Amsterdam. Its buildings and events make it one of the most well-known and important locations in the city (and the country!) The buildings on Dam square include Nieuwe Kerk (New church), De Bijenkorf and The Royal Palace.

Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)

The Nieuwe Kerk is a 15th-century church located on Dam Square, next to the Royal Palace. The Nieuwe Kerk is no longer used for church services but is used as an exhibition space and for organ recitals.


De Bijenkorf

De Bijenkorf is a high-end department store founded by Simon Philip Goudsmit (1845–1889). De Bijenkorf is owned by the Weston family that also owns Britain’s Selfridges, Canada’s Holt Renfrew and Ireland’s Brown Thomas.


The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace is one of three palaces in the Netherlands which are at the disposal of the monarch by Act of Parliament.

The palace was built as a city hall during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. The building became the royal palace of King Louis Napoleon and later of the Dutch Royal House. It is situated on the west side of Dam Square, opposite the War Memorial and next to the Nieuwe Kerk and is a really impressive building to look at!


Bloemenmarkt – The Flower Market

The Bloemenmarkt is the world’s only floating flower market. Founded in 1862, it is sited  on Singel between Muntplein and Koningsplein in the city’s southern canal belt. It includes 15 florists and garden shops as well as a range of souvenir gifts. The market is one of the main suppliers of flowers to central Amsterdam. You can find some really beautiful flowers here – we stayed away from the water as the wind and rain was pretty heavy that day!

The Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history. The museum is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw.

The Rijksmuseum was founded in The Hague in 1800 and moved to Amsterdam in 1808, where it was first located in the Royal Palace and later in the Trippenhuis. The current main building was designed by Pierre Cuypers and first opened its doors in 1885. On 13 April 2013, after a ten-year renovation which cost 375 million euros, the main building was reopened by Queen Beatrix. In 2013 and 2014, it was the most visited museum in the Netherlands with record numbers of 2.2 million and 2.47 million visitors!

It is also the largest art museum in the country with over 8,000 objects of art and history on display, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000. Among these are some masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer.

Madame Tussauds

Yes a really touristy place to visit but this was the first time I had visited a Madame Tussauds and I did really enjoy it! Inside you can find hundreds of wax figures of famous people from the world of music, sport, fashion and film.

My advice – definitely book online in advance to get the best deals and to avoid standing in queues which, during busy periods can mean a wait of over an hour! Pre-book your tickets here – you also save on entry fees by pre-booking.


The Red Light District

A trip to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without a visit to its world famous Red Light District!

De Wallen is the largest and best known red-light district in Amsterdam. It consists of a network of alleys containing approximately three hundred one-room cabins rented by prostitutes who offer their sexual services from behind a window or glass door, typically illuminated with red lights.

The area also has a number of sex shops, sex theatres, peep shows, a sex museum and a cannabis museum. We visited the cannabis museum – a museum dedicated to the historical and modern uses of cannabis for medicinal, spiritual and cultural purposes. Interesting if you like that sort of thing – a bit of a waste of time and money if you don’t!


Coffee Shops

A trip to Amsterdam would also not be complete without a visit to the infamous coffee shops!

In the Netherlands, coffeeshops are establishments where the sale of cannabis for personal consumption by the public is “tolerated” by the local authorities. Under the drug policy of the Netherlands, the sale of cannabis products in small quantities is allowed by licensed coffeeshops. The majority of these also serve drinks and food and in most of the places we visited, the rule was that you had to buy a coffee or hot chocolate with any purchase of cannabis. Coffeeshops are not allowed to serve alcohol.

If smoking isn’t your thing (which it isn’t mine!), you can always try one of the infamous space cakes! They come in all shapes, sizes, colours and flavours but be warned – they aren’t an easy way out in comparison to smoking!

Fast forward a couple of hours and you may find yourself walking around Madame Tussauds in a bit of a giggling haze…..just saying!!


Happy New Year! My plans for 2018..

You’ll be pleased to know that this blog is going to be a pretty short one! This month has most certainly got the best of me, with moving house, three family Birthdays, Christmas meals and parties, planning, buying and wrapping Christmas presents, Christmas Eve boxes and Advent Calendars, three days in New York and actually completing Blogmas (I don’t know how you guys do this every year it’s almost killed me!) so I think a few days rest has been in order!

2017 was a very busy year, and I am ashamed to say that for most of the agonising months we were waiting to move, we literally just hibernated, didn’t make any plans, went to work and basically just wished our lives away until we could move and start our brand new chapter, not really the best way to live really is it?

Anyway, now all the house move stress has gone, these are my aims for 2018:

-Lose some of my Christmas weight! Yes it is a complete cliche but I have been stuffing my face and neglecting the gym for far longer than just the festive period! The stress of the house move basically made me want to come home, stuff my face and climb into bed! This time last year I had just run a 10k charity run that I had been training for for a few months – I don’t even think I could run 1k without stopping at the moment! To get back to that place would make me very happy! Not looking forward to the gym though – it’s always HEAVING in January with thousands of other people having the same idea!

-Get some house decorating done! We are by no means rushing this as we have a lot that we want to get done, but it would be nice to have a couple of the quick wins done by the end of the year – the three spare bedrooms would be a good start (nursery, guest bedroom and dressing room). This brings me onto –

-Creating my house project book! Although we probably won’t get much actually done in the house, I want to go from room to room, measure up properly and get reading Pinterest and lots of interior design blogs to perfectly design each space – I’m really looking forward to this project! I love Pinterest!

-Go on some good days out! As we have just bought our forever home and want to do lots to it, money is going to be tight for this next coming year which means I will have to say goodbye to my amazing travels for a while! Still, there are some incredible places to visit in this country at a fraction of the cost and I’ve already got my eye on visiting Eastnor Castle, Tewkesbury Abbey, Blenheim Palace, Stonehenge and the Eden Project!

-Start a family! Kind of a major plan! Now the first part of or plan is complete after moving into our forever home, the next stage will be to start a family of our own! Hopefully 2018 will be our year!

I thought this would be quite a big list but to be fair I am happy with everything else that is going on at the moment so there’s not much more to change!

I hope you all have an amazing new year and a fantastic 2018! Make it your best one yet! It’s around a year ago I started blogging and I’ve never met a nicer bunch of people along the way, everyone has been helpful and supportive and really, really kind.

I’m really looking forward to continuing being a part of the blogger community in 2018 as well!


A Beauty and the Beast themed party!

If you have read my Christmas Countdown blog you will hopefully remember that I mentioned the themed parties I host every Christmas for my Sisters, my Mum and I. It started out as being just a bit of fun and so us four girls could spend some time together over the Christmas period (and to give us something to look forward to during the “in-between” time of Christmas and New Year) and to be honest it’s just stuck and become one of our regular traditions! My older Sister is severely autistic and especially looks forward to these themed parties, and now we are in a routine of doing them, not doing them would be most upsetting for her, so I’ve kind of pasted myself into a corner really!

Previous themes for these parties have included Harry Potter, Frozen and the Polar Express and, as you have probably guessed from the title of this blog, this years theme is Beauty and the Beast!

We all went to watch the new version of Beauty and the Beast at the cinema earlier on in the year and fell in love with this fantastic film. Shortly after, Primark started releasing all their amazing Beauty and the Beast products and so it seemed fitting that this would be the theme for this years party.


I normally don’t start buying things for our Christmas themed parties until December, once I have done all my regular Christmas shopping, however, because most of the items in the Primark range were so difficult to get hold of, I grabbed as many as I could each time I spotted some in my local store (even this was difficult because they only allowed you to buy two at a time of the most popular items!)

These parties will always consist of a goody bag which fits in with the theme of the party. The contents vary depending on the theme but it’s fair to say the girls had an extra large goody bag full of treats this year!

Beauty and the Beast shopping bags:

There were so many pressies this year, I had to buy these huge shopping bags to fit them all in! They were £4 each but they are HUGE and at least the girls can re-use them for shopping in the future!


Inside their goody bags they each had:

Chip coin purse

So cute – and very difficult to get hold of! Only £4 from Primark!



Chip mug

Again, extremely difficult to get hold of! I’m so pleased I did – they look really effective and are far better designed than the official Disney ones. These are £5 from Primark, whereas the official Disney ones are in the region of £15-£20!

Beauty and the Beast pyjamas

Is there any better place to get pyjamas from than Primark?? Mum and I had the grey pair and my two Sisters had the pink trousers with the blue tops. The tops and bottoms are sold separately – I think the bottoms were £8 each and the tops were £6 each – still very cheap in comparison with other pyjama sets from elsewhere!

Beauty and the Beast socks

They aren’t actually socks but shoe liners – you can never have enough of these can you??

Mrs Potts coin purse

You can’t buy a Chip purse and not buy Mrs Potts to look after him can you?


Lumiere coin purse

Another coin purse for the collection! I love the design of this one!


Cogsworth Clock coin purse

And of course not forgetting Cogsworth! I must admit he is my least favourite design out of the collection, mainly because if you watch the films, Cogsworth is a bit of a miserable git and so this big laughing smiling face design doesn’t suit him I don’t think! There is also a Cogsworth Clock available from the Primark collection, but I haven’t managed to get my hands on one yet!


Enchanted Rose drinking cup

Love this – isn’t it great? And only £5! You’ll pay triple that for a cup similar to this with a plain design! Plus I thought the design was great – you can unscrew the rose from the cup to make sure it’s washed properly and everything!



Beauty and the Beast slippers

£5 for a pair of slippers! You can’t go wrong!

Beauty and the Beast footlets

I love the slippers but also like these “footlets” that Primark do – they are almost like thick socks but have a non-slip tread on the bottom of them so are ideal for wearing around the house. These are even cheaper at only £4!

Mrs Potts money box

How lovely is she? Primark also make a Mrs Potts actual teapot but I haven’t been able to get my hands on her yet! I think the money box is a lovely idea too though!


Chip Jumper

I only saw these a few weeks back and I went away and gave it some thought as to whether to get them or not as I had already got so much stuff, but I couldn’t resist! Plus I love how they come in these lovely presentation boxes too!


Chip Keyring

They can carry Chip with them everywhere they go now!


Pom Pom bag charm

And this is really cute to brighten up an everyday handbag!


Bell jar light

I haven’t got mine out of the box yet but thought these would look great on everyones dressing tables! The pictures really don’t do the bell jar justice, they look really lovely.


Lumiere Tealight holder

And I was lucky enough to get a Lumiere Tealight holder from my friend for Christmas! She certainly knows me very well – I’ve not seen these anywhere!


So as you can see the girls were all very spoilt and each now have a brilliant collection to cherish! All these Primark items go for a fortune on eBay at the moment so I’m hoping they will be worth even more in a few years time when they are collectors items!

We spent the day unwrapping our presents and watched the new version of the film whilst we munched our way through some delicious party food and drink! Another perfect family themed party!


God knows how I am going to top this next year though – I think a more low-key party is in order after this years!

Bowood House and Gardens

If anyone is looking for a good family day out, my Mum, my two Sisters and I had a really great day out at Bowood House and Gardens earlier this year.

The only downside was that we had to contend with a torrential downpour whilst we were exploring, but we all still really enjoyed ourselves! We didn’t get to spend as much time exploring the gardens as we had hoped due to the awful weather so I think we will be re-visiting in the future so we can take full advantage! On the plus side it meant the house and gardens were really quiet!


Bowood House and Gardens is in Wiltshire and is currently home to the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne.



The house sits inside 100 acres of beautifully landscaped ‘Capability’ Brown Parkland and has been home to the Lansdowne family since the 1st Earl of Shelburne purchased it in 1754.

Over half of the house is open to visitors, with the family still living in the remainder. The places you can visit within the house include:

The Orangery

Originally designed as a large conservatory, the Orangery is now primarily a picture gallery, containing the remaining parts of the two great Lansdowne Collections of paintings and sculpture.

The Chapel

Opposite the Orangery entrance are the great doors to the Chapel. Created in the early 19th century for the 3rd Marquess by C.R.Cockerell, the Chapel is still used for special services and concerts.

The Laboratory

Through the doors at the east end of the Orangery is a small room known as the Laboratory. Here, scientist Dr Joseph Priestley, tutor to the 1st Marquess’ two sons, discovered oxygen in 1774! In those days the room was full of scientific equipment but unfortunately all were sold when the 1st Marquess died.

The Library

It was in this room that the great Bowood house parties would meet after dinner to read, play chess, sing, and talk about politics and other topics of the day.

The Sculpture Gallery

Through a small entrance hall at the other end of the Orangery is the Sculpture Gallery, created by the present Marquis of Lansdowne in 1980. Designed originally as a menagerie or zoo for wild animals, a leopard and an orangutan were kept here in the 18th century! Nowadays, the gallery houses pieces from the Lansdowne sculpture collections.

The Exhibition Rooms

A staircase at the west end of this gallery leads to the exhibition room which displays examples of 18th-century and 19th-century costumes. The Victorian Room holds (among other memorabilia of the period) Queen Victoria’s wedding chair!

Also on show in the Top Exhibition Room are the Keith Jewellery Collection, family miniatures, and the Napoleonic Collection. The Napoleonic Collection also came into the family via the 4th Marchioness; it includes Napoleon’s death mask, pieces of gilded Imperial Sèvres porcelain and other unusual treasures, such as Napoleon’s handkerchief!

The Gardens

If you can, try and get on one of the scheduled monthly tours of the Private Walled Gardens.


Bowood’s Gardens have beautiful sloping lawns stretching down to the lake.  The park includes the Cascade, Doric Temple, Terrace Gardens and for children, the fantastic Adventure Playground!

Sorry for the lack of garden pictures, the rain was so bad I was worried about the welfare of my lovely phone!

A separate Woodland Garden, which hosts Rhododendrons and Azaleas, is open to the public between April and early June every year, according to the flowering season.



There is an on-site cafe called the Treehouse Cafe which serves lovely paninis and delicious homemade cakes! Plus lovely hot chocolates and coffees which were greatly appreciated after being soaked through to the skin! British weather hey???

Adult ticket prices are £12.50 and child prices are £7.50 – £9.50, and family tickets are also available.

Bowood House and Gardens opens again on the 1st April – choose your visiting dates wisely though as it’s not called “April showers” for no reason!

A Lush Christmas – The Online Exclusives!

So after reviewing over forty items from this years Lush Christmas range I was quite pleased I had managed to try them all despite the bank balance taking a severe hit!

Anyway, the other day I was on the Lush website looking at a products ingredients when on the home page there was a link to “exclusives”, and lo and behold there was another batch of Christmas themed items which hadn’t been released yet! Me being me I couldn’t be without them so I ordered the exclusive items, and it was lucky I did because the majority of them are now completely sold out!

Here are most of the items from the exclusive online range-

Jingle Spells Bath Bomb

I loved the look and the ingredients of this one! This purple bomb with tiny gold soluble stars embedded in it contains juniperberry oil, tangerine oil, fennel oil,  and ylang ylang oil!


Jingle Spells smells lovely and is a really fast fizzer. It leaves the bath water a beautiful purply/pink colour whilst the little golden stars float on top of the water.

This bath bomb ticks the boxes so far – it looks beautiful, smells amazing and it contains several of my favourite ingredients, so why was I slightly disappointed with it? Because basically I didn’t find it moisturising at all which was a real shame! In fact I would go so far as to say it was one of the least moisturising bath bombs I’ve ever used! Handy though if you want to use a bath bomb as well as wash your hair in the bath water as I think it is unlikely your hair will become greasy in this bath water!

Still, a very pretty and lovely smelling bath bomb, and ideal to buy as presents for people who are new to the bath bomb experience!

Hot Toddy Shower Gel

God as soon as I opened this bottle and gave it a sniff I knew I had made the right choice to buy two bottles!

This literally smells like Christmas in a bottle, and when I list off all the ingredients you will see why! Ready for it? Here goes – ginger infusion, fair trade aloe vera gel, fresh organic lemon juice, fine sea salt, clove leaf oil, patchouli oil, lime oil, cinnamon leaf oil, sweet orange oil and carrageenan extract!


The shower gel itself is bright with lots of glitter in, however I didn’t notice any glitter on my skin when I got out the shower – even hubby used some and he won’t use anything which leaves him covered in glitter!

The shower gel foams up really well and produces a lovely thick foam which smells incredible! I found the shower gel to be really moisturising as well!

A definite favourite! As soon as I jumped out the shower after using it the first time I went online to try and order a couple more bottles to stock up as they are limited edition, but of course, I was already too late and they had completely sold out! If you can get your hands on a bottle or two of this stuff then do it!!!

Calacas Shower Gel

I’m not 100% convinced this is part of the Christmas range – the terminology they use on the label seems to suggest it would be more suited to the Halloween range!

This shower gel looks great – a darker orange colour at the bottom of the bottle lightening to a bright yellow gel nearer the top of the bottle! An almost ombre effect!

This lovely smelling shower gel contains aloe vera gel, lime oil, olibanum oil and neroli oil – great for cooling, replenishing and moisturising the skin!


The description on the Lush website says this shower gel will leave your skin smelling like jelly beans! They aren’t wrong! A lovely shower gel but definitely a second best when compared to Hot Toddy!

Christmas Penguin Bubble Bar

This little guy is so cute! I must admit when I first saw him I made an assumption that he was going to have a minty scent, but when I saw the list of ingredients he contained I was surprised but still couldn’t wait to use him!


Seeing as it is the Christmas holidays and I am feeling particularly indulgent (and lazy!) I couldn’t be bothered to chop up my bubble bars from this Lush order and so crumbled the entire thing straight under running water! It’s the first time I’ve used whole bubble bars all in one go and they did not disappoint!

This little guy is made up of lots of my most favourite ingredients – bergamot oil, sicilian lemon oil, orange flower absolute and sicilian mandarin oil! Lovely!


I must say I am pleased I used the entire bubble bar as I didn’t find the scent to be as strong as I had anticipated which was a bit disappointing, but still I had a lovely bath full of fluffy silky bubbles.

The bath water was really moisturising, so much so I didn’t want to get out of the bath! Highly recommended if you are after a relaxing yet uplifting bath, that’s if of course, if you can get your hands on one of the little blighters!

Dashing Santa Bath Bomb

I love the design of this one – so simple yet effective! And one of the cheaper bath bombs available at the moment priced at £2.95!

Dashing Santa contains mandarin oil, bergamot oil and orange flower absolute – some of my most favourite ingredients!


Dashing Santa is a relatively slow fizzer which spews out really thick white and red foam  mixed in with gold glitter foam from Santa’s gold boots!

The bath water goes a lovely reddish colour and smells amazing! For a little guy he certainly packs a punch of a scent!

The bath water is left lovely and silky and moisturising and the scent is incredibly relaxing and lasts a long time after you get out of the bath. I’m glad I bought a few of these to get stocked up because, you guessed it, they are already sold out online as well!

Peeping Santa Bubble Bar

Peeping Santa has been around for a few years but I have never managed to get my hands on one! I was really disappointed when I came across the huge Lush festive range to find that he wasn’t making an appearance this year, so I was over the moon when I managed to get my hands on a few as a result of the online exclusives collection!

I couldn’t wait to try this little guy! He is made with fair trade organic cocoa butter, bergamot oil, olibanum oil, geranium oil and fair trade shea butter with two little dark chocolate eyes!


As I said above, I couldn’t be bothered to chop up all my bubble bars with this order so I knew I was in for a treat when I used the whole of this little guy for one bath!

The red outer part of the bubble bar crumbles really easily under the running bath water, whilst the shea butter middle slowly melts into the water. Soon the bath is filled with lovely fluffy bubbles and the water soon turns a lovely Christmassy red colour.

I knew before I even used the Peeping Santa bubble bar I would absolutely love it, it is one of the most moisturising bubble bars I have used so far and smells absolutely divine!  The cocoa butter stays on your skin for several hours after getting out of the bath and leaves your skin feeling silky smooth, I’m so pleased I bought three of these little guys when I got the chance!

Calavera Bath Bomb

This bath bomb has been available a couple of times throughout the year as part of the Lush kitchen range but they sold out really quickly and so I kept missing out! As soon as I saw these were available as part of the exclusive selection I ordered myself several!

It’s strange really, when you’ve been ordering bath bombs for a while, you start to learn which ones you will like and which ones you won’t just by simply looking at them without even checking the ingredients! When I saw Calavera on the website for the first time, I knew this was going to be a bath bomb that I absolutely loved!!

Calavera contains lime oil, olibanum resinoid and neroli oil. It’s outer core is beautiful – a white bath bomb encrusted with pink, yellow and blue sugar granules which almost make it look like a geode rock.


The bomb I tried was unfortunately a bit of a dud as it kept sinking to the bottom of the bath so I had to hold it in place and then crush it towards the end to see its true colours revealed!

It is a very fast fizzer which starts off by spewing out mounds of white foam shortly followed by small strands of pink and yellow from the sugar coating on the outside. Once the middle cracks open, blue and bright green foam starts to pour out alongside loads of marigold petals which were completely unexpected!

The bath water does go a bizarre luminous green colour but the petals floating around the bath are a really lovely touch and the scent is really lovely, this one is a definite favourite!

The water is really moisturising and smells amazing – I think this one should become part of the regular range but until then, I bought five to keep me going!

Bling Crosby Bubble Bar

Lush items which leave everything (including you!) covered in glitter will always unfortunately find their way to the bottom of the review list, basically because I worry about the mess they will make and how long I will be sparkling for afterwards!


I was feeling lazy and couldn’t be bothered to cut this bubble bar up and put it all in a pot so I crumbled the entire bar under running bath water. The water turns a lovely golden yellow colour and the glitter is really small and delicate. You do end up with tiny bits of glitter on your skin afterwards but it isn’t overpowering, and you will be pleased to know that the glitter just washed away with the bath water and the bath didn’t need a good clean afterwards!

The ingredients in this bubble bar are lovely – lavindin oil, lemongrass oil, brazilian orange oil, patchouli oil, pine oil and gardenia extract – interesting!

Although I like the scent of the bubble bar, I did find it very subtle and underwhelming, and I really do like strong smelling scents. The smell hung around for a while in the bathroom but I couldn’t detect the smell on my skin at all afterwards.

I didn’t dislike this bubble bar but I was a bit non-plussed about it to be honest – I have got a couple more left, but would I buy some again if they were re-released? Probably not….


So White Bath Bomb

I wasn’t too sure what to make of this one – it looks like an apple, it smells like an apple yet when you check the ingredients online, not an apple to be seen! Honestly! I triple checked!


This lovely bath bomb is made up of bergamot oil, brazilian orange oil, rose absolute, orange flower absolute, neroli oil and gardenia extract. Unfortunately this one was also a bit of a sinker at the start but then started to float once the white foam had finished dispersing and the middle cracked open to let out mounds of dark blue foam.

It’s really strange but it is a fast fizzer which really reminded me of apple bobbing, the way it “bobbed” around the water!

Once the middle had completely cracked open, the water turned a lovely blue colour and the scent was like crisp apples. It wasn’t the most moisturising of bath bombs but I did still enjoy my bath – I just think I am overall a bit non-plussed about this one too though!

Very pretty bath art and a good present for people who are new to the bath bomb experience, I would definitely use it again but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was one of my favourites. Shortly after I placed my Lush order online they released this scent in a shower gel format, but to be honest I wasn’t particularly bothered that I had missed out on it!


Bombardino Bath Bomb

I’ve been fooled by little guys like this before – thinking they are going to be really weak and not much to write home about, but what I find with tiny Lush bath bombs such as Bombardino is that they really pack a cocoa butter punch!


Bombardino is made up of fair trade organic cocoa butter, soya milk powder, vanilla absolute, sicilian lemon oil, bergamot oil and gardenia extract! Lovely!

So, I tied my hair up so I wouldn’t get it in the cocoa butter rich water and watched Bombardino do his thing!

He’s quite a slow fizzer for a little guy, but soon he was bobbing around the water, releasing little pearls of cocoa butter! I just admit the cocoa butter is the overpowering scent here, and I really couldn’t detect any of the lemon or bergamot oil.


Needless to say this is one of the most moisturising baths I’ve had – Bombardino is certainly on a par with Butterball and the Christmas edition of Butterball, Butterbear.

Packed full of cocoa butter and oils, this is exactly what you need for those cold winter months! The scent of cocoa butter stayed on my skin for hours after my bath which was really relaxing and my skin felt amazingly soft and smooth. A definite must buy, I hope they will make Bombardino part of the regular Lush collection and, like Butterball/Butterbear, I think it would compliment some of the larger bath bombs which need a bit of a cocoa butter injection!

Yognog Soap

God this soap smells absolutely amazing! I only ordered two and I should have ordered more because it is sold out now!


Yognog soap is made up of rapeseed oil and coconut oil, soya yogurt, clove leaf oil (really Christmassy!) ylang ylang oil, gardenia extract and is topped with cocoa powder and nutmeg powder! It is literally like Christmas in a soap bar and smells like creamy eggnog!!

It produces lots of lovely thick, creamy foam and the scent only gets better (if that is even possible!) when you are in the shower! Honestly, the smell is so good you almost want to eat it!

I found the soap really soft on the skin and the scent stays on your skin for hours after you use it, in fact, many people commented on the unusual scent!

Please Lush, please make some more products with this scent in future! I love it!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading my “mop up” session of Christmas Lush products! Things will start returning to normal in the new year with the regular line of products being reviewed (and in much smaller doses you’ll be pleased to hear!) I wouldn’t even want to guess how many long baths I have had throughout December trying all the festive Lush products out! That is probably the reason I was so far behind on all of my Christmas shopping and present wrapping!!

A Mad Hatter’s Tea Party


I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! I must admit I do struggle in the days after Christmas – I feel really down and depressed that it’s all over for another year! You look forward to it for so long and then it seems to come and go in the blink of an eye!

Anyway, if you have read my London at Christmas Time blog you’ll know that my Mum, my Sister and I go to London every December to check out all the festivities – this year we decided we wanted to do Afternoon Tea whilst we were there.

We looked at several Afternoon Tea options including Fortnum and Mason and the Ritz and tried really hard to get us into the Tale as old as time Beauty and the Beast themed Afternoon Tea at The Kensington but it was completely fully booked until the end of January!

I eventually came across this amazing Alice In Wonderland Mad Hatter’s Tea Party afternoon tea at the Sanderson Hotel. It looked perfect for what we wanted, and I managed to book it for a special price which included a free cocktail because we were visiting on a weekday!


We booked for 1pm and the place was empty when we arrived which was really nice – I think we booked slightly early for afternoon tea but after getting up early to catch the coach to London I knew we would all be starving by 1pm!

We sat down and they gave us the selection of their lovely teas – you get a teapot of your selected tea each so we all chose a different one so we could try each others!


Here was the selection –

White Rabbit – China white silver needles infused with white grapefruit, vanilla and almond white chrysanthemums.

Queen of Hearts – Red Rose congu infused with red rose petals and a hint of vanilla and chocolate.

Mad Hatter – Green tea infused with passion fruit, guava and mango.

Cheshire Cat – Marmalade orange oolong infused with chocolate and hugging orange.

Alice – China black tea infused with hints of blackcurrant, vanilla, caramel, citrus, bergamot, blue cornflowers and blue mallow flowers.

I choose White Rabbit, my Mum choose Alice and my Sister chose Queen of Hearts – all were very different but absolutely delicious! You can also buy the teas to take home with you as well if you choose!


The cocktail arrived shortly afterwards and I was a bit worried because they said it was gin-based and I am not a fan of gin but the cocktail was also delicious – they said it was a Sanderson special so I didn’t get to find out the ingredients!


Then the amazing food started coming out…. Here’s what was on the menu –


Smoked salmon scotch quails egg with caviar and cream cheese