Friday, 30 January 2015

Champneys Bubble Heaven

One of my Christmas presents this year was this trio of Champneys Bubble Heaven products. I do love a good spa and though I've never personally been to a Champneys one I'm certainly very familiar with the name and the reputation of the brand and so I was really excited to give them a go. And over the last month I have most definitely been giving these products a lot of use!

The Bubble Heaven products are, unsurprisingly, a range of bubble bath products filled with all sorts of nice things to make your skin feel great - and of course, have a wonderful scent to them.

You can see the texture in the picture above - as you can probably see already, this is a great, really luxurious feeling product! It's really silky smooth and feels really nice and the scent to them is great. You're supposed to just pour it under the running water but I couldn't see how I would do that without losing half the product so I just used my hand to grab the amount I wanted and then held it under the water - this has added benefits as I actually really like the feel of the product as well, haha. You get a good amount of bubbles from a small amount of product, and I found they lasted about half an hour or so.

Right, onto the individual products this set contains!

First up we have Exotic Retreat, which contains a blend of ylang ylang, coconut and papaya to nourish your skin, and a scent that is supposed to remind you of exotic shores. 

Next up we have Oriental Opulence, which is inspired by traditional oriental recipes and is designed to encourage feelings of wellbeing and tranquility. This is actually the first one I used and I sure did feel a lot calmer after using it - which is impressive considering I'd come home from a gym session! This one contains ylang ylang, sandalwood and patchouli essential oils.

Finally we have Distant Shores which has my favourite scent of the three. It has a tropical fragrance that I really like and leaves your skin moisturised and smooth thanks to the mango and passion fruit extracts. It has grapefruit, lemon, orange peel and cedarwood oils and smells so nice - and not as overpowering as the description suggests!

Overall, I'm really impressed by this set. I hadn't tried anything of Champneys before but after this trio I'd definitely like to try out some more of their products - and of course, one day make it to one of their spas!

This set is probably a lot cheaper than you'd think it would be too - I was surprised! This set costs just £8 which is really impressive to me. They're good sized products and of such good quality, I really expected them to be a lot more. You can look through all of their products here!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Book Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler is a book that I had had on my to-read shelf for quite a long time but for whatever reason hadn't actually had any desire to pick up and read it since buying it. I'm not sure why - I think it's likely to do with the fact that the book really doesn't give much away about what it's actually about. Obviously at one point it had said enough that I'd wanted to buy it - but not enough that it actually inspired me to give it a go!

This is all a disappointment, because when I did finally pick it up I finished it incredibly quickly - I'd say within a week, which these days is extremely good for me! It's just such a good book that I would find myself making time and building other things to do around giving myself time to read it, so I'd definitely recommend it to anyone.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is a book about Rosemary's life and family - focused primarily around her sister Fern, who disappeared when she was quite a bit younger, and her older brother Lowell, who also has a habit of disappearing. It looks at her childhood with her family and as one of the topics of study for her psychologist father and his endless parade of grad students and the effects that this has continued to have on her throughout her life, and her current friendships primarily with unpredictable drama queen Harlow.

It's an unpredictable book that has an unusual structure to it - however one that works very well. It's interesting, kept me wanting to read more and left me with lots of questions in my head and lots of ideas of other things I wanted to look up, however where this book really got me was quite simply the way it is written. I LOVE the narrative style to this book. It's entertaining, it's different, and it's incredibly readable.

I would have to say that this book was probably my favourite book that I read in 2014, and so I would absolutely recommend it to anyone, no matter what genre you prefer to read! You can buy it from Amazon, here.


Friday, 23 January 2015

The Body Shop: Mini Sales Haul

I know, Christmas is gone, but that doesn't mean that The Body Shop's amazing scents have to be! Here's a mini haul of Body Shop goodies I got recently from their Christmas range.

First of all, these two little perfumes. I love these, they are both nicely scented and I actually prefer the size - I really like perfume which means I buy a lot and never finish a bottle, so for me something this sort of size actually works best for me. I am a big fan of the apple scent as you'll soon see, but the cranberries I had less of an interest in - I literally only got the second perfume because I needed to add an extra £2 to my order to qualify for something but actually I really like it. I adore the apple scent, but the cranberries are a lot more wearable.

Next up, I got the Book of Peace...

...which contains all of these lovely goodies! All with the Glazed Apple scent. You get a cute little heart shaped soap, and a lip balm that I'm using right now for my nights out! It's not the easiest lip balm to use and I wouldn't say it lasts that long on your lips, but it's got a nice light scent to it and it's good for more casual use when your lips aren't really suffering.

It also comes with a little body butter and a little shower gel. As I've said above about the perfumes, the small size actually works much better for me. I basically collect Body Shop shower gels, I have so many in so many different scents that I just never finish them and the bathroom is sort of overflowing with them. If I could get these mini sizes all year round it would work so much better for me - even if it would mean I'd have more space so I'd end up buying even more!

I also got this lollipop of lip balms. I have major lip dryness problems and for some reason it's got so much worse since jaw surgery. I wasn't sure how good these would be - last year I bought their lip butter set and honestly, I have a real love hate relationship with that set. I love the scents to them and I love the feel so I ended up completely emptying every single one of them, however I wouldn't say that they actually did anything for my lips! These ones come in different fruity scents, some with a bit of colour to them, and they really do smell amazing. I'm always forgetting to bring lip balm with me so I've ended up putting one in each of the bags that I use the most so that I can keep variety to it! These don't last as long as if you'd use a staple product like good old vaseline but they do feel nice on your lips and definitely have more of an effect than the lip butters do!

You can view the body shop website here.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

My Little Box January 2015: My Little Energy Box

I was very pleased to open up my post and see that this months' My Little Box was themed after My Little Energy Box. Obviously the picture on the front gives you a fitness theme and I was really excited to see where they were going to go with that idea. In my head I was thinking maybe some sort of fitness accessory, maybe something yoga related, something meditative.

This months' My Little World features lots of interviews, a workout calendar, a recipe for a home made face mask and more! This seems to have a little more content than MLW usually does and features some healthy breakfast recipes I think I'll try as well.

First of all - really liking this little label!

Inside of it was this bag! This is a pretty good sized bag actually, I think you'd be able to fit a fair few things in there. Right now this isn't something I'd use as my gym is a grand total of one minute away and therefore I just go home to shower and get changed, but if you're not so lucky I think this would be great. I'm definitely still going to keep it and will get use out of it though - I don't swim often but this will be good for when I do, and I have a lot of physical training days at work coming up that this will work great for.

There's also this little calendar. I already have a big wall calendar this year but I think I will still be using this to plan out my weeks a little better. I use my phone to record stuff straight into but I do like having something I can properly write in too. 

On to the beauty goods!
This is Alika's Photo-Hydra Day, which is a moisturiser that uses energy from natural light to delve deep into the skin. Apparently. I will be giving this a go although the idea of natural light is entertaining me at the moment! At the very least I can say this has a lovely scent to it.

Next up is the monthly My Little Beauty product - this time its an energising mist. I always find these products so confusing as I can never quite work out what they're supposed to do or why they think they can do it, but I will give this one a try. I don't love the smell though - I can't pinpoint exactly what it is it reminds me of, but it's not something I like!

Finally we have a nail polish from Nails Inc London and I LOVE THIS COLOUR. It's a shame I've destroyed my nails because I am basically going to finish this post and then go and put it on, that's how much I like it. A really pretty, dark colour, I really like it.

And that's this month's My Little Box! Overall I think this was a good box and I'm happy with my little goodies this time around - I think they could have done a bit more with the theme as really there was only actually one fitness related product and there were fewer items than usual, but I liked what I got so I suppose it doesn't really matter! Head over to the website if you're interested in subscribing :)


Friday, 16 January 2015

Restaurant Review: Rivea

I was so excited to find this restaurant as it is linked to the great Alain Ducasse, of course of three Michelin starred Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester amongst others. I was especially pleased that Rivea, located in the Bugati Hotel in Knightsbridge was actually pretty damn affordable - the concept is a small plates system but for the variety and quality that you get, this is absolutely not a problem.

The restaurant itself is very nicely designed, dark and decorated nicely and tastefully. You do get a definite feel of luxury when you're there. The service is very good - to be fair when we went it was surprisingly quiet so this may be different during busier times but the staff were very attentive and friendly.

We went for one of their special offers, which was £35 for four plates (two starters, one Rivea plate, one dessert) plus a glass of wine.

Your meal starts with this intriguing little breadstick platter! You get a little pot of breadsticks, plus a selection of eight little condiments to go with it along with a little card that tells you what is in each one. I was perhaps overly pleased by this but I thought it was such a good idea and got us excited for the rest of the meal. There was a good variety of tastes and so there was definitely something for everyone - I had three favourites whilst he had two, and neither of those overlapped.

On to the food!

For my first starter, I had the marinated sea bream with citrus and it was delicious. I really took my time on this as I was enjoying it so much, there's a really interesting variety of flavours to it.

I didn't take a picture, but my second starter was a chestnut veloute with ricotta ravioli and this was SO GOOD. I think I probably preferred it to the other, it was just amazing. All of the tastes in it were so good and went together so nicely. I would happily eat nothing but this for a week.

For my Rivea plate I had chicken breast with macaroni au gratin - before it arrived I joked a bit about it essentially being posh Mac & Cheese, and to an extent part of it sort of was, but it was absolutely delicious. I'm not sure all the flavours went together as well as the previous two dishes, but I still really enjoyed it and would have happily eaten a lot more of it.

Pudding is where I was less pleased, but that is partially my fault as I went for the risky choice. I very rarely order tiramisu but I was feeling adventurous, so we both went for it. And unfortunately neither of us liked it all that much - but from my perspective I can say that wasn't necessarily the fault of Rivea as I am really hit and miss when it comes to tiramisu and was just feeling brave - if you're a lover of it perhaps you would have loved this too!

They also brought out some little biscuits that were delicious, and we got an extra treat to take home as well. Which was odd, but, you know, extra food...

I had the white wine that came with the meal and it was great, although I'd say the serving sizes are a little smaller than you'd get in other restaurants. Delicious, though.

Overall, I really enjoyed this restaurant, and I'm feeling bad that the full extent of my descriptions are basically coming down to, "IT WAS GREAT," but genuinely, I was enjoying the meal so much that I really didn't take too much time to go into the details! I really loved this restaurant though and will definitely be returning soon. I go to restaurants and enjoy them and plan to go at some point in the future, but this is the first restaurant in a long time where half way through the meal I have known that I plan on going back as soon as possible!

You can view Rivea's website, here.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Review: The Phillips Sonicare DiamondClean

This is the year that I knew I was getting old, as my boxing day present to myself was not the normal pile of perfumes, clothes or camera - instead, I bought myself a toothbrush. And not just any toothbrush, a toothbrush with the recommended retail price of £250! (who even knew toothbrushes went up to that price? I certainly didn't) 

This is the Phillips Sonicare Diamondclean toothbrush, which is basically what would happen if Apple decided to get into the tooth cleaning industry. It's an extremely nicely designed bit of kit, to the extent that the first thing I did upon receiving it was to go and show my housemate what a ridiculous toothbrush I'd just bought. It's pretty, nicely designed, comes with this travel case, a charging glass, and two heads - a regular sized one and a smaller one. 

This is the glass you get with it - see, go high end, get a free promotional glass, eh? This is actually one of the chargers for it. You pop the toothbrush into it and then use it as a charger. I actually can't tell you how well this works as I don't actually have one of the sockets that you use for it, or any plug socket at all in my bathroom, so I just use this as a holder more than anything.

What I use to charge mine is this travel case! I think this is a great idea. The travel case is really sturdy and strong and feels really well made. It fits the toothbrush and two heads - and more importantly, has space for a USB charger in the bottom which I think is such a great idea. You can charge it up through your computer, but I use mine with one of my HTC chargers as it fits well enough and I can easily swap them out. The battery life is supposed to be about three weeks assuming that you use it twice a day for two minutes each time.

It's all very well going on about the fancy accessories, but at the end of the day it is a toothbrush of course. So what does it do? Well, the main appeal for me is that this brush has different modes to it. It has the regular Clean mode, a White mode, Polish mode, Gum Care mode, and Sensitive mode. Something I like about this brush is that over the first couple of uses it gradually increases in intensity. I was really worried about this as I haven't had an electric brush in a few years, obviously I had jaw surgery quite recently so was worried about it feeling horrible on my jaw - but starting it off gently is a really good idea. And if you still don't like the resulting force, stick it in Sensitive! The Gum Care mode is the one that appealed most to me - it gives you a regular two minute clean and then has an extra minute to gently massage your gums. My gums are really rebelling after years of braces and obviously they've had to go through quite a lot with the surgery, so I thought the extra gum care would be great for them.

My main complaint about this toothbrush is that it automatically stops after the two minutes. It goes in thirty second cycles, pausing briefly after each cycle and then stopping completely after the two minutes. By that point, I haven't yet finished. It seems minor, but it quite irritating. Of course, most people my age have not made the silly decision to get braces, so for you it probably doesn't take you quite so long to clean your teeth as you probably don't have hardware to get around, so this may not be a problem for you.

The RRP for this toothbrush was £250, but I'd be surprised if you had to spend that much! I bought mine as a boxing day deal so got it for around £60, at time of writing it's currently £99 if you buy through amazon here!


Friday, 9 January 2015

Jaw Surgery: The First Two Months of Recovery

It has been eight weeks since I had jaw surgery, which is a very odd thing. What's even more odd is that I can sort of remember how absolutely useless I was for the first five weeks and friends can definitely tell you about that period, and yet it feels like it was absolutely ages ago now.

Well, let's have a quick update anyway - also, please note that this post is scheduled and was written a few days in advance, so if you follow me on twitter I may or may not contradict some of this information at some point, haha.

Pain wise, it's pretty much gone. I do still get the random twinges of pain but they are much less likely now, and when they do happen they are less severe - probably because I've just got used to them! I've found that if they do happen it tends to be when I'm really cold, ie shivering or something.

I have no numbness at all, and no parts that feel a bit odd.

Energy wise I am now completely back to normal. I fidget and I'm hyper and I don't like sitting still! I should also note that I'm writing this the day before I go back to work, but by the time this is posted I will have returned. Eight weeks off work may seem like a long time but actually I completely recommend that much. Though I technically probably could have returned a little earlier I'm really glad I didn't, as it's just the combination of eating and talking and pain and general appearance, I don't feel like I had too long off at all.

Talking - almost completely normal. Still lisping a bit on 's' sounds, which is annoying. My voice is actually slightly different but not unusual - friends have told me that they can tell I sound different, but that if they hadn't known how I sounded before they wouldn't think it sounded odd. My jaw stiffness has mostly gone, literally over the last week I'd say - by that I mean that I had been able to talk so it sounded fine for a while but my jaws would hardly move, so it looked like I was talking through clenched teeth pretty much. That seems to have sorted itself out now.

Eating - Eh. No. Still not there. Eating is incredibly awkward. I use the wrong teeth, food sort of gets stuck everywhere, and it's so much easier to just swallow things whole... I have started adding more solid foods but it's really not working too well. I can eat a biscuit, but it'll take me quite a while. I can eat thin chocolate if I cut it up first. Cornflakes I can just about manage but it's really difficult and painful. Pasta I can sort of eat but it gets stuck everywhere unless I swallow it whole. My mouth doesn't get stuck open anymore and hasn't for a while but the eating process is really not there at all and it's incredibly frustrating. I'm uncomfortable eating in public but I will do it, however in public I am pretty much inclined to just swallow everything whole because it's less awkward. As the day goes on it hurts more as well - last night even trying to chew pancakes was super painful. Biting directly into things isn't something I can do.

Appearance - Getting used to it, but not sure it was an improvement. My teeth look great! Everything else I'm not so sure on. My lips still don't close naturally and I still hate how this looks. It wouldn't be so bad but I had absolutely no problems with them before having the surgery so I don't know why this happened. I can force them closed but it doesn't look great, it makes it look odd, but I will still do this most of the day because at least I don't look really dopey or bitchy when I do it! It is quite a bit of effort to force them closed so this isn't something I can do the whole day. I didn't have anywhere near as dramatic a change as some people did but I'm still not sure on it. It's getting more frequent that I'll look in the mirror and think I don't look that bad, but the lips are what I'm drawn straight to because I really dislike that. I still have two huge lumps on my jaw line but you can only really feel this now.

By the way - definitely had first kissing session since having the surgery. Which added a new level of complexities but not as much as I thought I would!

I will post another update at three months, and that may be the last for a while! Feel free to ask if you have any questions :)

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The Month in Pictures; December 2014

At the beginning of the month I took my first proper walk since having surgery, which probably doesn't sound like a big deal but it was SO MUCH EFFORT for me at the time. I chose to do just a walk of an hour or so along the Thames and it was so cold! I love the little bus statues that are everywhere at the moment, I took photos of quite a few of them but this one was probably my favourite. I am less fond of the Paddingtons, but I did like the Shakesbear.

This is my Christmas tree, decorated almost exclusively from stuff we have collected from various pound shops over the years - I still think it looks pretty good! The centre picture was the first of my cold weather clothing that I've been loving, and the third photo is my first meal out since having jaw surgery; just a giant ice cream with bits of brownie in it from Pizza Express! We went to the London Aquarium and then went there for an early dinner afterwards. That may or may not have been the only one I ate...

Some pictures from Christmas evening itself. On the left are two little robots; a friend gave me a set to make your own walking robots so I made these two little guys and thought they were really cute! In the middle is our Christmas food, I was pleased that I managed to eat most of it although it turned out carrots were still impossible. In the vegetable pile I had a sectioned off bit with vegetables that had been extra boiled so it was more likely I'd be able to eat them, and I was the only non vegetarian so all of the chicken was mine! I don't do a family Christmas, I get friends over instead, so here's me (in the red) and a friend in our reindeer jumpers!

December is of course the time of discount shopping, so I got a little bit goodie happy. That first picture is my new toothbrush, which I had to take pictures of because I thought it was so ridiculous. There's a post on that next Monday, if you're interested! Next to that is my lovely smelling new bubble bath products from Champneys which I'll be posting about riiiight at the end of the month (see how my new scheduling thing is going? Yeah we'll see) and finally some of my new Body Shop products (can you tell that I love Glazed Apple? It's so good) which I'll be posting about in two weeks. :)

You know how I had that huge list of crafts I was going to take up while I was on medical leave? Yeah. I didn't. But eventually I sort of did! That's my first little craft, a little chick. I'm actually pretty proud of him, he's not completely deformed or anything! He is however faceless, but I've ordered some googly eyes and some felt to finish him off. I've owned the wool to make him for about three years now, naturally now I've successfully completed a project I've ordered a pack of 20 more colours... Also this month I got organisation happy with sorting my room out. That middle one is a little unit I got to put my make up in, it was only around £5. Finally, my current candle collection - discovered I have enough tealights and wax tarts to literally fill a drawer up with them!

If you'd like, you can follow me on instagram - pinkconfettiuk :)

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