Saturday, 19 July 2014

Lush Leeds store and spa opening

Happy saturday everyone,

Well what a damp weekend this is set to be! The upside to the damp weather is that I can get down to some blogging! Warning- this is a rather long post!


On Thursday (17th July) I was lucky enough to be invited to the VIP blogger/press grand opening of Lush Leeds Spa and shop- I've never actually been shopping in Leeds before so I didn't see the shop that Lush moved from but my my their new shop is very spacious and gives a feeling of a journey through all your Lush needs.

The first section of the shop features all of their bath products, you then move onto all the fresh face masks displayed in a really cool industrial looking display unit crammed with ice to keep all the good enough to eat face masks cool and fresh. Once you've sampled these you then move through to the skincare section, then the Lush makeup and perfume sections. 



Although the store is massive, on the evening it was crammed full of people- around 50 bloggers/press then lots of lovely helpful staff handing out Prosecco and canapés!




Products that caught my eye


At the face mask section a lovely lady was there ready to coat both of my hands in some of the products- my fav, and the one I'm trading my pots in for is the Oatifix. It looks like a bowl of porridge and smells of bananas.. yum! It was the one recommended for dry skin so just what I need!


The Black Stockings  look really great, I rubbed the heart shaped solid over my forearm and it gave a lovely deep bronze tint. Not only that but as with every lush product it smells beautiful-cocoa butter, cinnamon and orange! Have you used this before?


I've already got 2 of the lip scrubs- Mint Julips and Popcorn so I wanted to check out the lip balms- I've been told they are amazing combined with the lip scrubs. Im really into citrusy scents so Lip Service is the one for me.. I didn't buy it this time though.. I was sticking to a budget and I had a guilty thought when picturing a whole draw of my makeup organiser full of lip balms .. I'll pop this one on the xmas list maybe!






 I've never really paid too much attention to the Lush perfume range if I'm honest- but whilst sipping away on my Prosecco and taking in all the sights of the busy shop I got listening to one of the Lush ladies talking about the range. Obviously I needed to have a sniff so I automatically went for the Vanillary - I'm a sucker for vanilla anything so I think it was force of habit to pick up a familiar scent. The Vanillary was sweet, but not overpowering and just what I like. 

 Miss Lush then got me to try the Breath Of God- its a really unusual scent which at first I wasn't so keen on but once it settled on my skin my nose seemed to take interest in it- with notes of   neroli,lemon,melon,jasmine,rose,vetivert sandalwood,cedarwood amber and musk its a really deep and warm scent that I think my now more mature nose is a fan of!


Throughout the night the Lush staff were walking round the shop with bowls of loveliness to stick your face into- my fave was the Avobath bomb!







Then the 'You've been Mangoed' caught my eye and after a good sniff I was set on seeing what it would smell like with the Avobath bomb- of course Lush love product hacks so they were up for mixing the two in one of the huge bowls on the shop floor... OHHHHH I've found my most favourite Lush combo ever!


 The sharpness of the Avobath really works well with the creaminess of the mango bar. Give it a go and see what you think!

After seeing all the lovely products I was then invited down to see the new Lush Spa- I'll be honest, my past experiences of spa's haven't left me that excited but I was so surprised by Lush! 

I was guided downstairs to the spa- it felt really homely and a place you could just let go and relax without the feeling of pretentiousness that some spa's often have.  I've heard that the kitchen/consultation area is inspired by a kitchen one of the founders of Lush has!

Lush Spa price list



The waiting room

The consultation kitchen

Beautiful homely sideboards 

In each of the treatment rooms there was a demo taking place. The one that caught my eye was the 'Hard days night' treatment- this 75 minute session is a Beatles inspired treatment with a great sound track to accompany it- imagine stripped back relaxing Beatles songs whilst being in your PJ's and a lady working all that stress and tension out of your whole body! There are a few interesting parts of the massage.. but I won't ruin the surprise for you! 

At £85 for a 75 minute session it, for us normal people, isn't going to be a weekly thing.. maybe a birthday treat or even a valentines treat as you can opt to have two people in the room!

Hard Days Night treatment room
 I was lucky enough to have a bit of a massage myself whilst in the spa-a mini taster of the Comforter treatment. I loved the experience, the smells of rose and the really fun but relaxing music they had playing throughout. It felt like I was in a side room of Charlies chocolate factory!

All of the staff were amazingly friendly and helpful, I'd recommend paying a visit for sure!

I even got the chance to make my own Comforter bubble bar!

I of course came home with 2 bags worth of treats!

1. You've been Mango'ed bubble bar
2. The Sunblock*
3.Avobath
4. African Paradise skin conditioner*
5. D'fluff shaving creme*
6. The Comforter bubble bar*
7. Zest hair jelly*

*these items were given in a goodie bag! Thanks Lush!

I'd love it if they opened a Spa near me! I'm considering putting Lush vouchers on my birthday list so that I can go for a treatment later in the year!

Have you had any of the treatments before? 

Which Lush product is your go to product? 

xoxoxox






Tuesday, 15 July 2014

First thoughts-Birchbox July 2014

Evening all!

My Birchbox arrived at the weekend and as it was lovely and sunny I thought I'd head to the park on my bike to get some pictures for you all to see the content of my box.

Is it just me... each month I try to refrain from looking at #birchboxuk but by about the 5th of the month I've given in and seen everyone else's reveal pictures?! 

I'm also a bit naughty again once I've ruined the surprise for myself... I know that around the 9th of the month I can log into my account at Birchbox to see my box contents. When I did it this month I was nicely surprised.. the combo of products doesn't seem like everyone else's on Instagram!


This months theme is Sun, Sea and Sand.

Heres what I got in my box-



1. Vita Coco natural coconut water lemonade (full size sample 330ml £2.29)

I've seen this celebrity endorsed product around a lot recently- such likes of Rhianna and Madonna. To celebrate 10 years of Vita Coco they've released this new twist on coconut water- made with the original unflavoured coconut water but with added lemon puree and a touch of natural fruit sugar. I'm yet to try this but I'll be taking it to work tomorrow to sample and I'll instagram my thoughts! (@hollylucyhp) 
I like the packaging- the convenience of having a screw top is great for people like me who never finish a drink in one go!

You can buy these on offer at the moment from Tesco- buy 4 for the price of 3!

2.Gilchrist & Soames Mineral Bath Gel (Sea Kelp Extract 40ml sample- full size 236ml £11.25)-

 always a fan of bits out of the Birchbox that will be handy for travel! This bath gel is one to pop in the tub whilst your running a lovely bath for yourself after a long day at work. The scent is slightly citrusey and clean smelling.. nothing too fruity or sparkly but rather a grown up product I'd say!

Again, I'm yet to use this as I rarely have baths these days.. they make me feel hot and uncomfortable but I will test it out soon.. Promise! I've done a bit of research on the brand- found that they vow not to test on animals, their products don't contain parabens or any other nasty stuff and sea kelp helps to keep your skin lovely and moisturised without the drying effect some bath products can have. 

You can purchase this item and lots of others from the range either in the Birchbox shop or visit the Gilchrist & Soames site



3. Compagnie De Provence-Creme Pour Les Mains Extra Pur Mediterranee (30ml sample- full size  300ml 14,50€)

Just what I needed! Now my Laura Mercier sample from last months box has run out (sad face) I was in need of some moisturiser to pop in my handbag. I instantly enjoyed this product- its really light and smooth when you apply and leaves my hands feeling moisturised without being greasy. The scent is fresh and described on on the website as ' a fresh fragrance with sea breezy and sunny notes'. 100% agree with this! This is a product I would repurchase- maybe to use as a day to day hand creme rather than using the Laura Mercier every day (rather expensive!)

There are some yummy sounding flavours in the range too- 


Cherry blossom (10,50€)


Fig of provence  (14,50€)




4. Balance Me Wonder eye cream- (7ml sample- full size 15ml £20)

I've never been a massive fan of eye creams if Im honest; i think its because its hard for me to see whether its actually doing anything! But, I'm always open to try new products so I've given this a go the last couple of days... but not noticed any difference/felt any difference apart from a slight tingling sensation just after applying.  The scent is refreshing- I can mainly smell the witch hazel and rose hip.  Its meant to brighten and eye area and keep wrinkles at bay!
I'll continue to stick with it and let you know if its a product i'd go back to once the sample is used up!

5. LAQA & CO sheer lip lube pencil- Bee's knees  (2g sample- full size 3.7g £14)

Well Birchbox.. you've gone and done it... I L.O.V.E this product- think i've mentioned in past posts that I'm a sucker for scented lip products and this one smells gorge- very minty! The coral colour is beautiful too- really great for day time wear as its not too bright. I love the packaging plus the fact it comes in a handy pencil form so that I can reapply easily whilst on the go.  I'd for sure purchase this product once I've used this one up- I'm glad i got this colour over the purple shade I've seen other subscribers get- this one is way more wearable in my opinion.

6. Benefit- The PORE-fessional- (7.5ml sample- full size 22ml £24.50)

This is my third sample of this product over the past few months and I'm adding it to the pile! I haven't quite been sucked in by this one but plan over the next week is to use this and then report back.

My first impressions have been that it makes my skin feel quite dry and powdery but the coverage has been great and when swatching I can see that it instantly reduces the size of my pores! I like the little instruction manual in with this product- gives you pointers on where and how to apply with. What are your thoughts on this product?

Overall I've really liked this months box- a big improvement on last months for sure, I'm glad I didn't get any nail varnish this time- my makeup storage is overflowing with polish at the moment due to being sent so many in recent boxes!

 I like the variety- Ive got something for my face, lips, eyes, hands, bath time and even something to drink!

Would you like to receive a monthly delivery of loveliness? Why not sign up now using the below link; it gives both you and me money off!

SEND ME MY OWN BIRCHBOX!!

Let me know your thoughts on my July box!

XOXOX



Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The most favourite dinner in our house:Pulled pork sarnies

Hello lovely readers!

I hope you are all well and ready for a tasty treat! I've been meaning to take pictures and tell you all about the making of my speciality dish for ages... last weekend I finally got round to it.

Me and the Mr cook this dish approx twice a month and we love it.



Our first taste of pulled pork was when we visited Cuba de Revolution about a year ago and sampled their delicious pulled pork sarnie laced with their speciality rum hot sauce. We went back a few times, mainly when hungover, before realising how easy it would be to  recreate the dish ourselves at home without having to venture out with a sore head and an empty belly. 

We've since made this dish for lots of friends and family; the dish even took centre place on a buffet table last boxing day for all the family!

Each time we cook it we switch it up a little so throughout the step by steps below i'll let you in on some of our alternatives!

You'll need-

1 pork shoulder joint
Olive oil
1 can of coke
Lots of your chosen hot and spicy seasoning/bourbon seasoning
Your choice of a nice BBQ sauce (we used a HP Smoke Honey BBQ one this time)
A nice crusty baguette or some nice soft rolls, whichever you fancy!


Prepping your pork


The first thing you need to do is choose your seasoning- we've tried tons of different ones over the past year. Asda and Tesco both do their own Hot and Spicy mix but we like to find new products when cooking!

  If you look back at my Flavourly box review I linked to Taste Gourmet Spice Company after receiving a sample mulled spice mix in my box. We then spotted their stand at the BBC Good Food Show last month and picked up their Fire-Pit BBQ Rub.


This rub is INTENSE! Its got a really lovely smokey flavour that really works with this recipe. The rub is made by soaking peppercorns in bourbon then roasting and grinding them into a pepper base then combining them with lots of lovely spices to give it a kick. The rub contains half the amount of sugar and a quarter the amount of salt you normally find in other rubs on the market and we've also tried it on some yummy potato wedges. 

So, now you've got your rub at the ready the first thing to do is slather your pork joint in a nice glug of olive oil. We use Filippo Berio- I always want to sing the song from the advert when I say it... ok...just me. 



Then its time to get hands on! Smother your joint in the rub; we used half the pot... and I mean smother it! Make sure you get into all the nooks of the meat and cover all sides.


Once you've done this and washed your mitts then get a can of coke.. yes you read right... and pour the can over the the joint and give it another good loving rub- we like doing this as it adds a bit more sweetness and stickiness. 

Now pop some foil over the top of the bowl and pop it into the fridge for a few hours so the flavours from the rub and coke can work their way into the meat.


Cooking the meat

We normally leave it to marinade for about 2 hours. Once you've got the joint out the fridge you'll see the majority of the coke has soaked into the meat and its looking lovely and dark- it already smells good enough to eat at this stage!

Preheat your oven to 150c

Pop the pork joint into a pyrex dish or a suitable dish for the oven along with any of the leftover juices from the dish



Then get it in the oven on the top shelf. 

At this point you can sit back and relax for about 5 hours whilst your pork slowly cooks. We start to get really hungry at this point as it smells so bloody good. Don't get too eager though.. it needs its full 5 hours (or more if you like at a lower temperature, some recipes say 8 hours at 100c!)

After the wait your cooked pork should look like this-



Ohhh I can imagine the smells now as a write this!

Prepping your sarnie

Remove all the string from the meat and your next job is the shredding.

Remove your pork from the tin and pop in onto a chopping board, grab two forks and get stuck in, shedding the pork between the forks. 


Hopefully if you've cooked it for long enough you'll have a lovely crispy dark outside with tender juicy meat underneath. The joint should fall apart when shreddding- this means you've cooked it spot on!

At this point you can put the pork to one side and follow the next steps later on if you like. 

Otherwise, whilst you are shedding through the pork get your kitchen helper (the Mr) to get a pan on the hob with a small splash of oil in and add your BBQ sauce to the pan to warm, we use about 1/2 of a bottle. You can also add some more rub/seasoning to the BBQ sauce and give it a stir.

This is where we switch it up a little bit each time we cook it. Either you can serve the BBQ sauce separately in a pouring jug or slather your pulled pork in the BBQ sauce and mix then serve. 

Pulled pork sarnies wouldn't be right without some hot sauce-



I'll admit it... I'm obsessed with Franks Red Hot Original- I have it on pizza, pasta,salads.. basically everything apart from my cereal! Its also the same for the Mr and his hot pepper sauce. These both work really well with the pulled pork and give it a good spicy kick. 

Now get constructing your sarnie!

We chop and change the bread we use, sometimes we go for nice soft baps; this time we went for a rustic flour french stick from Tesco slathered in some nice salted butter



Pop a generous helping of the pork into the roll and then top it off with your nice warm BBQ sauce and maybe a little side salad (although all we had was tomatoes this time!).

 Season with some salt and pepper and add your choice of hot sauce. 


And your done! 

If you want an extra kick of spice then pop some jalapeños in- even a bit of lettuce if you are feeling the need some some greens. 

You can even use a slow cooker to do the pork in if you want to leave it to cook whilst out(although you won't get the crispy chewy outside) google it for some yummy ideas.

Through our many experiments with this dish we've found our favourite rub- give it a go and visit Gourmet Spice Co 

 We still haven't found our fav BBQ sauce though.... can you recommend any good, rich deep flavoured,sticky ones?

I hope you have enjoyed cooking with me and I've got your mouths well and truly watering!

XOXOX