Wednesday, 25 November 2015

My November RetroPacks

I've decided to start a monthly blog post series featuring my Retropacks delivery!

Hopefully you will have seen Retropacks on my blog before, if you haven't, let me explain! Retropacks is a monthly subscription service for your Instagram photos. Each month you can either choose which photos you'd like to receive or you can get a surprise and see which ones are randomly selected for you. 
*****Big news announced today from the Retropacks Team- the print numbers have gone up from 3 per month to 6 per month for a great value price of £4.99 per month. You even get the first month for free!*****
 So, here are my three prints I picked- the quality of the prints, as usual, is very impressive; with vibrant colours and a glossy finish they are perfect for framing or creating a photo wall!
My first print is a photo of me and the boyfriend. Back at the beginning of October, we went on a mini getaway in Derbyshire for his birthday.  We decided to pose for this picture outside the cottage on the Sunday morning before making our way back to Sheffield.This photo is my ultimate fave of the two of us! I love the colours, the positioning of the shot and that we are looking at each other lovingly... AWW!
This print of the palm trees and blue sky is from our trip to Barcelona earlier in the year. I love this shot as it reminds me of the warm weather we had whilst visiting a lovely little town called Sitges. I've got this propped up in my lounge on a shelf so that each time I catch a glimpse of it it brings back that feeling of warmth, in comparison to the chilly weather we have here now!
This print is of the boyfriend and his two nieces. We don't see the girls as much as we'd like to, so we decided that we'd take them to the park on a Sunday afternoon to do some fun stuff, like skateboarding,eating ice-cream and playing on the swings! My boyfriend is a near enough retired skateboarder (he's too old to be chucking himself off things these days!) so he enjoys encouraging the girls to follow in his footsteps and get on a board! The eldest niece is rather good, even though she's only been practicing for a few months, and a lot more daring than I am!

Its so nice to have print outs of my Instagram photos each month;it reminds me of the nice things we've done, delicious things we've cooked and places we've visited. On delivery day it always brings a smile to my face and I can't wait to get my December prints!

Check out Retropack's Instagram page here
Follow Retropacks on Twitter @retropacksteam

Have you tried Retropacks yet?
What do you think of the concept?

XOXOXOX

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

VOSS Water

Like Water?
Love stylish packaging?
Like to support a company who do good things for others?

If you answered yes to all of the above, I'd recommend you carry on reading!

At the beginning of 2014, when planning CityGirls events, I took to Twitter to find a drinks company to help hydrate our bloggers at the events we host. After only a matter of minutes, I stumbled across VOSS Water; an artesian water bottled at source in Southern Norway. 
You've probably seen pictures of VOSS on my Instagram over the last year and wondered what all the hype is about? Well, this post is to explain a little more about VOSS and why I think its a great company to have onboard with TheCityGirls events!
VOSS Water is filtered naturally by layers of sand and rock within an underground isolated aquifer. This process of filtering prevents the water making contact with the outside air and other nasty pollutants meaning VOSS Water has a crisp,clean and smooth taste. 
I know, I know, your probably thinking, how can water be any different from ermm water? Well, until you've tried it, its hard to explain. A water tasting smooth? Yes, it just does. Don't knock it till you've given it a go, believe me, you'll notice. 
As well as the beautiful taste, VOSS Water is also very ascetically pleasing to the eye. It's sleek cylindrical bottle is a thing of simplistic beauty and something that draws peoples attention whenever I have it on my desk at work. 
I sometimes like to infuse my VOSS Water with Fruit overnight- this time I used cucumber,strawberries,lemon, some mint leaves and finally some pomegranate seeds.

What makes VOSS Water even more appealing other than taste and they way it looks?
Their huge efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and also,The VOSS Foundation.  

The VOSS Foundation is dedicated to providing access to clean water, sanitation and community needs to people living in Sub-Saharan Africa. They don't just go into communities and provide a water well, they work with communities to continue to help with maintenance and other water-related development needs, for example;having access to sustainable water means increased food security, leading to further employment, brighter futures... the list goes on and on......
 One of the key points that I noticed about the VOSS Foundation is that they aren't just telling consumers- "oh we will donate x amount of your sale to a less privileged country and then just hope for the best"- their approach is to get passionate people out to these countries and assist with building a sustainable future for generations to come.Not only do VOSS help communities with their day to day water needs, they also run campaigns such as Women Helping Women and #ONEWELLATATIME  to raise awareness about the needs of those in countries where finding drinking water isn't as easy as just turning on a tap in your kitchen.

You can find out more about the VOSS Foundation here.
If you'd like to try a bottle of VOSS Water for yourself, head over to Ocado

Have you tried VOSS Water?

Follow VOSS over on Twitter @vosswater

XOXOXOX

Monday, 23 November 2015

SECONDTHREAD A/W Collection event

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending an exclusive launch party thrown by Second Thread to show off their new A/W range! As you might know, if you are one of my frequent readers, Second Thread is a new fashion label created by my lovely friend Cat. 
Cat studied fashion at university and works for a large fashion brand but wanted to start her own label for fashion-loving babes around the world! She also likes to hide behind small succulents.....
Cat has been part of all our CityGirls events, either by bringing her pieces along to show the bloggers or by contributing to our raffle; Second Thread items always get a lot of blogger love and I believe thats because all her pieces are either handmade or lovingly sourced. Cat has a clear direction in the style and quality of the pieces she adds to her collection and I know she spends a lot of time perfecting her marketing techniques and getting the perfect shots for her Instagram page.  I had such a lovely time at the event and I 100% believe Cat deserves to do really well with SecondThread; she's so passionate about fashion and loves being able to offer good quality clothes to stylish babes. 

Before we move onto the fashion, I must quickly mention the beaut venue Cat chose to host her event at; Tamper Coffee, here in Sheffield. We had a private room away from the rest of the venue and 10 of us, all friends of Cat's, sat down to have a lovely meal. I had the bread and olive board followed by the stuffed aubergine. Pretty amazing food so if you get a chance to check it out, make sure you do!
Here all the new additions to her website plus some of the items from earlier in the year too. 

The Forum New Menu Launch 2015

A few weeks back I was invited along to try out the new menu at Sheffield's The Forum Cafe Bar. For the last few years I've frequented The Forum mainly on Friday and Saturday nights for their cocktails and relaxed vibes. However, its never really been top of my list for eating out with friends,  because I thought it was more just a pub grub style place.

The email I received from Miles, the general manager, mentioned that we'd be treated to an evening of cocktails,food and also some filming for their new promotional video for their website. I was SO keen to go along and check out their new menu so, of course, I accepted the invite straight away.
We arrived on the evening to find that they'd sectioned of part of the bar especially for us and they had a barman on hand to make us some rather special cocktails. The first one, pictured above, was the Winter Spritz; consisting of Aperol, Prosecco and grapefruit bitters. I first tried Aperol in Barcelona and loved it so it was nice to see that The Forum have incorporated this into their menu with a nice twist by adding, my fave drink, Prosecco. 
Once we'd all got settled and had a natter with the other bloggers the executive chef, Andy Burns (left) and general manager, Miles (right)  explained that, over the past few years The Forum kitchen team took a few field trips outside of Sheffield and found when visiting restaurants and food fairs, one of the food fashions at the moment is Korean food. Food you can eat with your hands. The Forum then looked at their foody stats and found that about 80% of sales were burgers and sandwiches so they wanted to bring a Korean twist to the restaurant and widen the options, and flavours available to their customers. Of course this doesn't mean they've scrapped all their most popular dishes, they've just added new bits to inspire people to try new dishes from around the world. 

One thing I must mention at this point is this rather divine cocktail...
Yes, thats a piece of sweet potato you see on the glass!Its more for display and the colour of the cocktail really but worked so well with The Forum's new daiquiri style creation. I loved the sharpness of this lime infused cocktail and I will be ordering this next time I pop in for a drink or two. 

On to the yummy starters...
I was delighted to see that my favourite snack was served up as the first starter,  Spicy Sriracha Hummus. The hummus was topped off with chilli,sesame seeds and spring onion. This dish is in their 'Small Plates' section of the menu and is £3.95 per portion or 3 dishes for £10. 
I liked the spicy kick to this hummus and the crunch of the pitta chips worked really well. I'd recommend trying this one out for sure!
Next up, the Rarebit Fondue.....
As a huge cheese lover this little pot of oozing cheese was a hit with me. The fondue was even topped off with a sprinkling of blue cheese..mmmmmm! The bread is a sourdough chunky loaf sourced locally from Seven Hills Bakery and went really well with the fondue. Surprisingly, some of the bloggers who weren't blue cheese lovers tried this and enjoyed it! The blue cheese wasn't too strong so won't be offensive to newbies! Again, this dish is £3.95 and included in the 3 for £10 offer. 

Just got to take a moment here to appreciate the little touches The Forum have added to their accompaniments...
I love Sriracha hot sauce so was pleased when they came out with a selection of them for us to add to the dishes, they had a mild garlic and chilli one, medium, then an hot hot one for heat lovers. 
The final starter we sampled were the Baby Back Ribs (£3.95 or 3 for £10) with honey and sesame seeds. I'll admit it, since I got back from Barcelona mid September I've been trying to go as meat free as possible but being presented with these tasty looking treats meant I let myself off for the day.. it was SO worth it too. 
Once we'd polished off the starters the team started to bring out the delicious looking main course dishes.....
Crispy Cod Pakora (£8.50)- these were, by far, my favourite dish on the menu. The crispy parcels were served on a flatbread along with a little rice and some chilli's with Pak Choi. I added some hot sauce to mine for a bit more of a kick but they do come with a delicious Keralan curry mayo. Since the event, I've been craving these crispy cod bites SO much!
Next up was the Shaved Bulgogi Steamed Buns (£8.50)- I've never tried steamed buns so was looking forward to see what all the hype was about. The beef was so tender and flavourful, it worked really well with the steamed buns too.. slightly odd new texture but I can see these becoming quite addictive!Again, these were topped off with spring onion, wilted park choi and sesame seeds. 
Pork Tomahawk Chop (£9.95)- A large sweet soy and ginger chop served with roasted vine ripened tomatoes and fries. I wasn't a huge fan of this dish, mainly as I'm not eating a lot of meat at the moment but for you meat lovers out there this will be a huge hit- the meat was really well seasoned and had a slight stickiness to it which was rather yummy!
For the full time veggies out there The Forum have put together a Soy Glazed Tofu Skewer (£8.50), served with flatbread and rice. I'm not a fan of tofu unfortunately so this dish didn't hit the spot for me but I'm sure others will love it! You can also order a chicken version of this skewer.. yum indeed!
Korean Pork Belly Burritos (£8.50) with brown rice, gochujang mayo, chillies,spring onion and sesame seeds served in a flour tortilla accompanied with house fries.  These were so good! Perfect amount of all of the burrito filling and so good dipped in the hot sauce. I'd recommend trying these out. 

Alongside the Korean inspired dishes we were also treated to some mini slider burgers, both falafel and beef- these were extremely yummy and something I'd recommend trying out if you haven't already. They come in the Small Plates menu too with chips for £3.95. 

Although we were all well and truly stuffed by this point it would have been a shame not to try out the new puddings from the menu! We were presented with Deep Fried Korean Ice-Cream Sandwiches (£4.50) and also a Rolo Brownie (£4.50). The Korean dish was tasty, interesting and something I'd never have thought to go for but the Rolo Brownie hit the spot for most of us. It was incredibly chocolatey and went very well with the vanilla ice-cream and raspberries. 

I was really pleasantly surprised by the Korean dishes and its nice to see that The Forum isn't just about burgers and chips. For me, there are a number of dishes I'd like to go back and try out again and  I recommend you do the same! The quality of the food is amazing for the low prices that you pay and its always nice to give new flavours and dishes a try.

You can find the menus online here and check out the pretty fancy video of the night here
Also, The Forum are on Twitter, so check them out here.

Have you tried any of the new items from the menu yet?
Which dish from my photos would you like to try?

XOXOX

Friday, 20 November 2015

LookFantastic Beauty Boxes: PART TWO

Well hello there beauty lovers... todays instalment is about November's LookFantastic beauty box.
 I posted a couple of days ago about the October box that I was gifted at The CityGirls event so thought it only right to share the contents of this months box. Its still on sale over on the LookFantastic website so if you don't want to see what is included then look away now!
The November goodies are all packaged up in a rather fancy looking box covered in lovely gold hexagonal patterns along with turquoise blue tissue paper hiding all the treats away. LookFantastic have switched up their monthly insert this time and made it more into a magazine style leaflet; detailing all the products included in the box and some additional beauty tips and bits of advice for us product lovers. 
In comparison to the October box; November's product selection is slightly more varied. Although I loved the October box it is nice to get a wider selection of products as this means I get to try all the items out sooner rather than waiting until Ive used one up and move onto the next one.
This months box contains treats from Korres,Dr PawPaw,Ole Henrickson,REN, Kebelo and Bellapierre

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

LookFantastic Beauty Boxes: PART ONE

Todays post is going to be a reveal of what was included in October LookFantastic Beauty box and tomorrows post will be on Novembers Box!
 I was kindly gifted both during our Manchester CityGirls event a few weeks back. Talking of that... I have a list as long as my arm of things I must blog about, so keep an eye out for the event post plus many more over the next week or so. If you've ordered yourself a November box and don't want me to ruin the surprise then avoid reading tomorrows post. Just tomorrows though.. make sure you come back soon :)
The LookFantastic beauty boxes are £15 per month with free delivery- the price drops depending on the amount of time you sign up for too.  The October box contained approx £50 worth of beauty products all packed in a rather luxurious gold detailed box and some turquoise blue tissue paper. 
Inside the box, before you get to the good stuff are two leaflets; one on the contents of the box and the other detailing a promotion LookFantastic have on at the moment. 
Ohhh look at all those treats! 

The October box seemed to be focused on luxury skincare and a few additional bits for your beauty collection.

 The skincare products are-

Monu Firming Moisturiser 25ml sample (50ml £22.50) Although I haven't had this product long enough to comment on its effectiveness what I can say is that it smells gorgeous. Its described on the packaging as containing aromatic Neroli and Lavender essential oils. The firming cream also contains glycerin to soften and moisturise your skin when applying after cleansing and toning either in the morning or at nighttime. If your also looking for a product to smooth fine lines and protect you from the sun this Monu moisturiser also contains collagen and protection from UVA and UBV rays.

Nuxe RĂªve de Miel Hand and Nail Cream 15ml sample (50ml plus lip moisturiser for £9.00) Firstly, what a bargain gift set is that!? This hand and nail cream is lovely and soothing on my dry chapped hands. I've been using it for a couple of days now and really rate it. I like it because its non greasy and the hint of honey smell is rather divine. The cream is packed with sunflower, honey and essential oils to make sure your palms are kept tiptop during the cold weather!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet

 I was introduced to The Bodyshop's Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet back when I attended a Bodyshop event back in June. I volunteered to have all my makeup taken off and try out some skincare products and this sorbet really caught my attention. At the end of the event I treated myself to a pot to test out and just want to tell you how I got on with it...
I have been using this pretty much every morning since the event and absolutely love it! You only need a tiny blob on your finger to cover your whole face and OH it feels good. Somehow, however warm the weather was (mainly whilst in Barcelona!) the sorbet felt chilled and really refreshing.Just to prove I finished the whole thing........
I found when I applied this before my foundation it very quickly settled into my skin leaving a perfect base for my makeup.I'll admit it...its not too often that I actually finish a whole product. Bad right? I tend to like to swap and change often so to actually finish something for once felt like money well spent.

I found that the sorbet helped to moisturise my dry patches really well..mainly I suffer from dry skin between my eyebrows and when using this it completely disappeared! When I got to about halfway through the tub I started using it as part of my nighttime routine too. Once I'd removed all my makeup and chucked my hair up into a bun I'd slather this over my face and get into bed. Ohh it felt good. 

This is for sure going to re-purchased when I go to The Bodyshop xmas event later this month!

Have you tried this sorbet out?
Whats your fave Bodyshop product? 

XOXOX

Sunday, 8 November 2015

A breakfast date with Nest.co.uk

A couple of weekends ago I was invited down to spend the morning at the Nest HQ here in Sheffield. I'd heard of Nest and seen their showroom from outside but never actually popped in to see what they had on offer.  The lovely ladies at MK Things Happen PR here in Sheffield organised for us to go in on a Saturday morning to spend a few hours eating brunch,finding out more about their products and generally just to raise awareness of the lovely brand.
Before I guide you through some of my fave bits from Nest lets just stop and appreciate the most Pinterest like breakfast I've ever been eaten! We were treated to some delicious mid morning snacks from Marmadukes Cafe Deli based here in Sheffield. We had cheesecake, THE most amazing red velvet nutella cake (similar recipe can be found here) and fruit and yogurt. All of the foody bits were, of course, served to us on crockery and cake stands available on the Nest website!

 I must say actually, it was really lovely to have an opportunity to talk to the other bloggers and the hosts before moving onto the main event; it made it a lot more relaxed throughout. So... onto the main attraction! The Nest ladies started by talking us through some of the pieces they thought we might lust over...

Swedese Lamino Easy Chair- this beaut looking piece is a great seller on the Nest website- the Nest team talked us through how it appeals to a wide range of people; from those who are looking for a comfy supportive chair for their lounge to ladies who are looking for a timeless practical chair for feeding in their nurseries. I sat in the chair and it supported the my back perfectly whilst still being comfortable.  
Treku Aura S5 Sideboard- I love this sideboard, the colour, size and depth of it is perfect for my petite house! I like the simplicity of it but also that it has a space for you to display your nic-naks and add a bit of a personal touch to suit your space. 
Vitra Grand Repos Lounge Chair- this, for me, is the most memorable furniture piece from the blogger event. I love the shape of the chair with its supportive sides to rest your head on. I can imagine sitting in it to read a book on a winters afternoon with my feet up on the footstool whilst sipping on a G&T! 
Vitra Eames Lounge Chair and Stool- ultimate man den chair eh?! This pair come in a number of different colours too! 

Although I absolutely love the furniture at the Nest store and online I was aware during the event that my budget probably won't ever stretch to be able to afford any of the beautiful pieces. I 100% believe that the furniture at Nest is top quality and will make any space look amazingly put together but I must keep things realisitic for my readers and myself so here are some of the more affordable home accessory pieces that caught my eye.....
Hay Dot Cushion £69- Im really into grey accessories at the moment so this piece caught my eye straight away. I think it goes really well with the bright pop of colour from the Muuto basket
Wrong for Hay Printed Cushion £35- I've actually just put this on my online wishlist, I'm expecting my new sofa to arrive in a few weeks (unfortunately not one from Nest, but lovely anyway!)and think the bright colours would really compliment the grey sofa!
Ohhh Im such a sucker for bedding! This rail caught my attention straight away and yes... one of the duvet covers is now on my wishlist! The Hay Minimal Collection Syrup to be precise- I think £50 is a good price for what felt like such good quality bedding. I hope this is something that I receive either for my birthday or xmas- how times have changed ehh, didn't ever think I'd be putting bedding on those lists!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Everything 5 Pounds Event

A couple of weeks ago I was invited along to an event hosted by a online clothing website I'd never heard of; Everything5pounds.com. When the invite pinged up in my inbox I was really intrigued to find out more.. how could everything on their website be only £5?!
Their name pretty much says it all really; everything they sell is £5- Yes, literally everything! From shoes, bags, coats and home accessories!

So, on the event evening I headed up to Hallam FM HQ in Sheffield to see what they had to offer and to ask a few more questions around how they manage to sell everything for such a low price.

I was so happy to see some familiar faces at the event; I love being surrounded by people I know at these types of things as it gives me the confidence to ask lots of questions and generally just relax a little more as I'm starting to see Sheffield bloggers as my friends!

Louise from Everything5pounds started by talking to us about why they decided to start hosting these mini events across the UK- its basically to get more people talking about their website and sharing outfit ideas with other bloggers and readers who once might have not have thought of E5P being their first port of call for on-trend fashion pieces. She also let us in on a little secret- some of the items they sell on their site are from well known UK fashion labels, for example, M&S, New Look,Missguided and ASOS. Although they can't label the items they sell on the website as these brands when your items arrive you might have a nice surprise!

Basically, from what Louise was saying, when the big high street brands over order on their stock they need to put it somewhere, so this is where sites like Everything5pounds come in. I'm impressed and I see it as a kind of recycling scheme- rather than the big brands just chucking their stock onto landfill its made available at a cheaper price for more people to enjoy!

So on to the collection....they had some good staple pieces at the event, anyone who knows me will be aware that roll necks are my go-to pieces at the moment so this grey striped top caught my eye straight away.


Lucy from Lucy Loves teamed the grey top it with a sleeveless black blazer and I couldn't help but snap a photo of the combo..thanks Lucy! I'd then team this with some black tights and these dreamy boots.....
Can you believe they are just £5?!! 
 Ohhhh I loved this bag from the minute I spotted it on the rail.. again, Lucy, being the stylish babe she is, decided to do some outfit collages and I cheekily snapped a shot of her faux leather combo too!