Saturday, 19 August 2017

Newcastle Highlights

Back in July me and Nick went to Newcastle as part of his surprise birthday "holiday".. I call it a holiday but it really wasn't, it wasn't even a break as we barely stopped the whole time we were away. But I arranged a 5 day "holiday" for Nick that he literally had no clue about, starting off in Newcastle where we'd then get a mini-cruise to Amsterdam! 

I've never been to Newcastle but I absolutely loved it and already can't wait to go back - there was such a variety of things to see and places to go with a brilliant town centre. Plus - THEY HAD UBERS. Which for most people means nothing but Uber's just made the whole 3 days in Newcastle so much easier when it came into going into town and coming home. 

On the way to Newcastle we had to make a stop at the Angel of The North and of course take a photo - it was so random, I didn't know what to expect but it was on the side of a main road not in the middle of nowhere which I kinda thought it would be. And yes, it's huge and took me SO LONG walking around trying to get the perfect selfie. It was great to read about though and even a little emotional looking through the memorial area. 




We stayed at The Cornerhouse hotel which is actually above a Flaming Grill as it meant we got Greene King staff discount (boom) and it was lovely, cheap and cheerful but nicer than a standard plain Travelodge! It was just out of the centre but I preferred that. We got Uber's back and forth and ended up finding some of my new favourite places...

As soon as we found out there was a Brewdog in Newcastle of course Nick just had to go and check it out. Now, I'm not really a beer or Ale fan but the Newcastle Brewdog was hands down one of my favourite places in the whole of Newcastle.. they had their own Gin as well as a Gin beer (legit not a clue about their official names!). We even had a Pizza which was beyond amazing and proper home made.. we were in our element. I even got excited when I went into the Loo and there was some gorgeous artwork on the wall... definitely Pinterest worthy! We went a couple of times while we were in the area and it's definitely made me want to visit even more Brewdog Bars. 




A few of my favourite bars (I have clearly forgotten the names of) but a particular favourite was the Rum Bar opposite.. the decor was crazy cool with Animal Busts on the wall and stunning bottle and glass displays behind the bar. It seemed like it was quite fancy but we felt so relaxed.. And Nick had found his happy place with BrewDog while I found my favorite.. The Botanist! As stunning as ever with the most beautiful cocktails.. and even a good view over Newcastle.




The second night we ate in Longhorns BBQ steak house after trying to get s table in a couple of Steakhouses and not wanted to wait an hour but it was definitely for the best.. the food was INSANE! We both had a platter and shared them both and my effing god, it was amazing. Epic beyond words. It's not fancy and it's not posh and you eat on bar stalls off a metal tray but hands down better than any steak house around there! 




I loved my 3 days in Newcastle as there was so much to do and we definitely need to go again to bar crawl the areas we didn't go to but for now... it's nice looking back at how much we enjoyed it!

Ps - I'd better include this photo of Nick as this was his personal favourite moment of the whole of his life, let alone week! 





Thursday, 3 August 2017

Zoella Jelly & Gelato Range

I can't ever remember doing any blog posts for any of the Zoella range before despite picking up pretty much everything she's brought out but there's something about this range.. and the fact I've been desperate to blog again, that made me think to pull up the laptop and have a scribble.

I first smelt the range the day it came out and in all honesty I wasn't too sure so when I went into Superdrug again this week I decided to give it another go. I still wasn't 100% taken by the smell of the perfume but I did end up buying a few bits while they were on 3 for 2 and I had my student discount card.

I wore the perfume the day after I got it and it did eventually grow on me (and Nick - who wasn't a fan either to start with) but after it settled we both agreed we liked it and it was a perfect Summer scent. What I love is that it lasts - the scent lasts so long, longer than some of the most expensive perfumes I've brought. The scent in the Shower Shake and the Body Pudding is lasting as well which is really impressive for it's price band. The Body Pudding is certainly a new favourite body product as the feel it leaves on your skin is just heavenly - it sinks in to the skin with ease and doesn't leave that horrible oily feel on your body.



If you know me you know I am the biggest SUCKER for bath bombs, bath oils, bath salts, bath anything really so when I saw the Bath Wafers (SO CUTE) I had to try them. When I first got them out the packet I didn't think they'd do a lot as they didn't seem overly fancy but after I got out the bath I realised how freaking soft my skin was! The Wafers melted away easily and didn't leave any random lumps floating around the bath. The smell again makes your bathroom smell wonderful.

So general first impressions weren't striking me but after giving the products a real go, and even though the original scent is still my favourite scent of the range, I'm definitely a fan! This is by far my favourite packaging of anything Zoe's brought out as I love the font and it's definitely a bit more modern and grown up. It's perfect for Summer and even though it's relatively cheap, it feels like a right good luxurious treat! I'd definitely give them ago while they're on 3 for 2 in Superdrug.






Tuesday, 1 August 2017

July Purchases and Favourites

July was a bit of a manic month and I didn't really stop from the very first day... we've been to Newcastle, Amsterdam, Nottingham a number of times... but each time has made new memories and made new opportunities to find a new shopping centre ;)

July was almost a month I'd been waiting for due to a couple of new launches that I've known about for a while, firstly the new Zoella range launched (whole new post about that coming soon!) but most importantly.. a range that will, as drastic as it sounds, change my life - CATH KIDSTON HAVE LAUNCHED A GUINEA PIG RANGE. YES. A GUINEA PIG RANGE. It's so exciting. I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for this. And when I was in Nottingham last week I finally managed to have a look at a few bits and choose a couple of items while I was there. I picked up a mug and note book set while I was there but it took less than 24 hours for me to order another 4 items online! As much as I LOVE the cardigan with Piggies on, I can't yet justify £85 on a cardigan... I live in hope!



I'm known for my "drunk online shopping" amongst my group (remember when I added ONE item in my basket for £2.99 and accidentally ordered my whole basket which was over £200... yeah, you'd think I'd learn).. but I received a 10% discount code for Debenhams recently and after doing a make over on a client who used her own lipstick, I have been OBSESSED with it.. it's the Kat Von D in Countess. A gorgeous orangey red colour which is perfect for Summer. I ordered a couple of other KVD bits but this was by far my favourite!


Yankee Candles... something I normally only buy in Winter! But when I recently visited Cheshire Oaks, they had a sale on where you brought £20 worth of items and got a free large Yankee Candle... CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! Tbh I spent it twice so got two but in that I got 2 Christmas presents and quite a few wax melts in the sale. They have a great sale on at the moment in their outlets and even their garden centre stores so it's definitely worth checking out if you're a YC fan! The Jelly Bean Candle itself isn't my favourite  ever Yankee Candle but it's definitely one of the strongest I've had. It's quite sweet but has a fruitiness to it aswell. Definitely good for Summer.


Wouldn't be a favourite without foods... and alcohol! So this month I've left my old gym as I never went and have turned into a bit of a salad lover and attempted to eat a bit better now the weather's nicer... plus we've booked a holiday for October so I need to get bikini ready. When we went to the Food Show last year we got a free Fibre One Chocolate Fudge Brownie and I've never been able to find them since. I then saw them in Tesco a few weeks ago and they've definitely become a firm favourite in my cupboard. I have no idea how they taste so good and the texture is the perfect Brownie Texture so even though they're a little pricier than I'd like, they're worth it for when you fancy something sweet!

As for the alcohol.. I've never in my life been a gin drinker, I don't like the taste and I don't like the smell at all! But a few weeks ago I went to a party where there was a gin section and one of the girls brought me a cocktail and asked me to guess what it was - I had no clue! When she told me there was gin in it I was gobsmacked. I guess I've only ever tried cheap gin or just plain old Gordons. But since drinking the cocktail, I've turned into a bit of a Gin Geek. I've tried a few different ones with different flavours, fruits or mixers and it's definitely my new favourite drink (as long as I have some fruit to flavour it with and it's not very strong!). My favourites are by far the gorgeous Bloom Gin - garnished with strawberries! As well as the new Ophir Gin with lime wedges. The bottles of them themselves are just beautiful (and very expensive!) but I've treated myself to just the one for now. I'm trying to only drink it on special occasions so it lasts longer but it's just too good! I'm loving them 2 (random!) mixers - elderflower cordial which I've found it cheapest in Ikea, and this Cranberry fizzy water! Hmmmhmmmmm!



Wouldn't be a favourites without a couple of bits from Boots or Superdrug that I've shoved on the Bathroom shelf and almost probably forgotten about them already! But 2 of my favourite buys of July for the Bathroom are the boring but effective foot scrubber file thingy and Superdrug's Salted Caramel Shower and Bath Soak... I shit you not, I just want to eat myself as I smell so good after. It's not very often you use a bath wash that leaves a really great smell not only on you, but in the room as well. The smell is incredible and despite it only being a couple of quid, it really does last and makes your skin really soft... and makes a bubble explosion in the bath!


So only a few but here's a few of my July favs.. .just an excise to write a blog post tbh but I now have a bit more time on my hands to write a little more often so here's hoping to have a few more up soon.

What else do I need to buy next time I'm out shopping? I've not really brought any proper new Summer make up this year so if you have any recommendations please send them my way!



Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Vlogging FAIL: Confession

So yes.. I have a confession.

If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram you'll see I started vlogging last week.. yes.. VLOGGING! I can barely keep up this blog yet alone a VLOG! I did really well for 2 days and blogged little bits and pieces getting ready for our weekend away (definitely a number of blog posts to come on this!) and pottering around the flat...

BUT... Even though I kept it up for a couple of days, I felt like an absolute idiot despite being on my own (purposely only Vlogged when no one else was around as I feel like a dick).. I even felt I had to put on make up and have a glass of wine to make myself more relaxed. I didn't feel comfortable Vlogging even when alone so when it came to Nick finishing work and being out in public, what chance did I have? I constantly walked around with my camera in the hope the courage would come from somewhere but it just didn't. I felt like an idiot and I felt like a failure. I was SO excited and so determined that this was the perfect opportunity and perfect weekend to Vlog but when it came to actually doing it, it was a different story entirely.

Why?

I don't know. I can't put my finger on it. I didn't even watch any of it back.

Maybe it was fear that I'd look fat on camera? Or sound like an idiot as I hate the sound of my own voice. Maybe it was even the fear that no one would watch and it would be pointless.

I'm so annoyed with myself after buying such an expensive camera then not using it for the original purpose. I've decided I want to start with the odd sit down video and ease in from there.. Nick is always pushing me to film stuff and do videos as he knows how much I love them.. I've watched some of my favourites for years and they're the reasons I even blog, let alone want to vlog... Fleur De Force, The Anna Edit, Saccone Jolys, JesssFam... I know they all had to start somewhere but I don't know what that start is for me but I'm hoping in time it'll come to me.

If you Vlog or do videos, please please please Tweet or comment below on the first videos you did, where you started and any advice.

Always appreciated.

Love,
Sarah xox



Sunday, 2 July 2017

Revolution Birmingham: Cocktail Masterclass

I am so beyond late for this blog post but I just love the photos as I used my Olympus Pen and I always feel they're a little bit more top notch than the normal ones so I didn't want to waste them.

I also wanted to say a very belated thank you to Revolutions in Birmingham for inviting me to their Blogger Cocktail Masterclass evening to celebrate the launch of their new cocktail menu - and even letting Nick come too! I was so happy to be invited as my blog has kinda gone down the pan so it was a good excuse to get back out there with my camera. Nick doesn't have too much to do with my blog (he probably couldn't even tell you what it was called!) but it was lovely for him to be able to come too and we made a bit of a night out of it as we very rarely get a chance to have some time together away from work.

It was a simple yet lovely evening meeting other bloggers and getting to try some amazing cocktails. We all got to take it in turns to head behind the bar and make a variety of cocktails - we had the opportunity to try them too, a sure highlight of the evening! It was a great laugh too as we had competitions and played games in cocktail battles and had a great Cocktail expert too from the Revs team (I want to say his name was Phillip? It's been a few weeks!)

It was a lovely evening and I'm really grateful to the team at Revolution for inviting us - hope to see you all again soon for even more cocktails!


 
(Nick's Mojito)
 
(Attempting to make a Cosmo)
 
(Competition time)
 
(A selection of our free cocktails.. a bubblegum cocktail, mojito, cosmos.. mmhmm!)

I've been spending a lot more time in Birmingham lately after learning how easy it is to get there from Shrewsbury and what a variety of places there are so let me know where else I need to try!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Holiday and Summer Make Up

It's sooooooo hot -and if you're like me, that means make up melting off your face because you wear so much! I always struggle this time of year as it's so warm but I had a bit of a practice run back in March when I went to Malaga (and actually take these photos - I'm just suuuuper behind on the blogs!) and practiced a couple of new products ready for the Summer months.

For my week in Malaga, these were my absolute favourite products and those which I've already been using over the last couple of weeks of hot weather..

FACE:
Base: SmashBox Photo Finish Primer
Foundation: Illamasqua Base
Concealer: Collection Lasting Finish - what a classic!
Shiiiiit loads of the lightest powder in the KVD pallet - particularly around the eyes and the T Zone.
KVD Contour pallet for contour.
Highlight: A bit of Seventeen's Liquid Highlighter dabbed on followed by the Collection Gorgeous Glow's light pink shade on the cheeks. The Make Up Revolution's Glow Highlighter then on the tops of the cheekbones.

EYES:
Base: Seventeen Liquid Highlighter.
Shadows: Estee Lauder's Nude Pallet - loooots of sparkle!
Eyeliner: Illamasqua Gel Liner
Mascara: Estee Lauder Waterproof
Brows: HD Brows Kit in Foxy

Everything Else:
Lipstick: Make Up Revolution - not one shade imparticular but I love a lot of the peachy shades right now!
Fixing Spray: Make Up Revolution
Sun Protection: Hawaiian Tropic Dry Oi
Shades: Primark

 


 
BTS on our little Malaga Apartment Balcony..

I do love the Summer despite soggy make up - let me know in the comments on Tweet me your top Summer Picks so I know what else I need to give a go during the hot and sweaty months!

Sunday, 28 May 2017

I Went Into Hiding!

I realised the other day that I've now not blogged for over 2 months. I was half tempted to give up and just jack it in as I was fed up of going "I'm fed up of saying that I'm going to get back into blogging then don't" but I realised how much I actually had to blog about lately and now I've finished the bulk of my NVQ (see further down for my geekiness), I feel a little bored as I don't have any work to do. So here I am, for the 3240978973904th time I'm restarting my blog.

The last couple of months have, in all honesty, been a little horrific and that's why I've not even thought about my blog or even Tweeted/Instagrammed as much as I normally would and everything just got a little on top of me with SO freaking much going on and having to juggle so much at one go...

Managing 2 Pubs at the same time.
One pub kills me off enough and earlier in the year it got quite tough working with Nick and trying not to kill him so an "empty threat" of moving pubs quickly became a genuine threat and within just hours after nearly killing eachother off, I'd found a job in a new pub down the road! 4 Months down the line, I've somehow -without having planned it or even expected it, ended up as Assistant Manager in BOTH pubs at the same time, doing half a week in each. It's taken a while to get used to and sometimes I do wonder what on earth I'm doing but with a great team behind me, helping me through and pushing me, I'm REALLY enjoying it and I think I've found what I want to do for a career - not bad considering I'm 25!

I've been travelling up and down the country over the last few months on various management training courses, sometimes having to stay away for nights and even little workshops and it's given me a fantastic opportunity to meet other people in the businesses as well as see so many other pubs (and steal ideas!).
 

NVQ
So yeah, as well as juggling 2 pubs and all these courses across the country, I've been juggling my Business Management (or something along those lines) NVQ Level 2. I'm not sure how I've managed it and everyone's always shocked when I explain how much I do but I actually really enjoy doing it - so much so, you get given 12-18 months to complete the course but 4 months in, I'm actually nearly finished. All the theory and paperwork has been completed, handed in and signed off! All the hundreds of pages of it - the feeling of it all being signed off after working until sometimes 1, 2, 3am between shifts was so exciting. I feel like I currently have a lot of eyes on me in the business so this is just something else I can add to my CV that I've managed to take a lot from.

Rattling like a pill bottle.
After feeling SO pants lately - and I mean SO pants, angry and just wanting to cry all the time for no reason, I've been back and forth to the doctor's over the last few months trying to suss out why I can't cope with life in general. It turns out that my Pill has been deactivating my anti-depressant so I've ended up coming off of all my tablets and starting over trying out new ones. It's also been a struggle to try and cut down on gluten and sugar after blood tests showed an abnormality in both levels but a few weeks on, I feel really good and am eating much healthier and much better - I'm sure I'll do a post of what food I've been loving lately too.

New Piggies
A year is the longest we've gone without getting a new Guinea Pig and after I went into Pets at Home for work purposes (genuinely was for work purposes!) I fell in love with a gorgeous little ginger fuzzbum. After losing Paddy at the start of the year (still kills me now) I'd said the only time I'd get a new piggy is if it was a Teddy Rex guinea pig which is a rare breed with a beautiful temperament. I went into Pets at Home and they had a gorgeous ginger Teddy Rex pig and I just knew I had to take him home - but taking him would leave 1 little piggy on his own in the shop... clearly I couldn't have that! So meet Simba and Marble: They're absolutely hilarious and totally full of character and despite being different breeds, they love snuggling up together.

 

AREN'T THEY CUTE!

The last few months have been a bit (lot) crazy and trying to juggle everything has definitely got to me at times but I know it's all for a good reason and in the long run it'll be the best thing I've ever done. I'm so grateful I have so many amazing people in my life to help me through and give me that push when I need it.

I've got some blog posts already drafted and almost ready to go so I think this Summer will give me a great chance to get back on it - again!

What have you been doing lately? I feel like I've lost contact with so many of my gorgeous blogging girlies so send me links of what you've been doing and catch me up with what you're up to.

Sarah xox

Monday, 3 April 2017

Wowcher Holidays: Worth the Risk?

Oh England.. how I'd like to not be back with you! If I could've stayed in Spain I would have but unfortunately life beckons. But yes, we've just got back from Malaga in Spain after a week away for a rest which was perfect and very much needed, but people have been really shocked when I've said or Tweeted that I brought the week stay in the apartment for just £25! 

I've never been on a holiday that I've brought on Wowcher or Groupon online but I loved it, there was nothing different than booking a normal holiday so I thought I'd put any minds at rest for if you're thinking of doing the same. It's not conventional to book a holiday this way and I can see why people would be nervous.. I definitely was and was a bit worried we'd turn up and it would be like the hotel in the Inbetweeners with the dead dog outside (but not a dead dog in sight). Before I purchased it I Googled the resort and went on TripAdvisor and they had fantastic reviews.. over and over again it was 5* after 5*, a lot of people mentioned they'd brought the week stay on Wowcher and there was so many that I couldn't not buy it. It was £25, worse come to worse I cancel or change my mind and I lose £25. Not a massive deal. The only time I got nervous was when I got an email saying they're fully booked the week I wanted but they had full apartments with a kitted out kitchen but it would be an extra £125. In my head I was just like “scam” and upon arriving, it's clear that it was a bit of a scam as there's no one here. I bet only 10% of the resort is taken (standard this time of year) but once I saw the apartment, I'm actually glad we upgraded. The apartment itself if amazing with a. Fully fitted kitchen with oven and even a washing machine which was ideal as we don't get any of the meals included.

We quickly learnt the exact reason why they had put the sale on Wowcher after we got invited to a meeting and lunch with an “agency” who were basically trying to sell us a time share and they said they used Wowcher as a Marketing tool to get the people here in the first place. A bit sneaky, but very clever marketing.. plus even though we said no, we got a free lunch. I'm sure a lot of companies would work like this and I'm sure that a lot of the time it works. 

The details on Wowcher were pretty accurate.. 15 minute drive from the hotel, 5 minute walk from the beach and from the strip of bars and restaurants so there's no reason I wouldn't book on Wowcher or Groupon again.. looking now I can see that there's weekends away to Rome, Prague, Iceland or longer holidays like Vegas, Spain or even weeks in the U.K. In Cornwall or Scotland. It was ideal for us as it meant that even with 15 months between purchasing and going, we had enough time to decide if we definitely wanted to go plus t gave us time to keep an eye on flight prices as we had to get these separately.

 

There wasn't really any bad sides of booking a holiday this way apart from the clear “we only have apartments” scam so I'd absolutely recommend checking our Wowcher for cheap getaway deals and I hope this has given everyone a new scope for choosing your travels. 

Sunday, 5 March 2017

The National Wedding Show

On Friday me and my best friend and Maid of Honour, Laura, spent the day at the NEC attending The National Wedding Show. Admittedly after a night out in Birmingham, we were slightly hungover but it was a fantastic day to have a mooch around hundreds of stalls looking for ideas and inspiration.. 

I've never been to the Wedding Show before so didn't know what to expect.. a lot of the stalls were very similar with the majority of them being for companies selling dresses and suits or the stalls advertising venues (mainly abroad) but it was great to look at what was on offer and was a great opportunity to compare prices for similar dresses or things like Wedding insurance etc. Think my favourite stall obviously had to be my favourite Prosecco brand, Premier Estate Wines where we tried a number of different fizzes. 

 

The highlight of the day was watching the Catwalk Show with so many different dress options to help know which stalls to look on, there were definitely a few that took my eye so it's been a great help in deciding what I want to go for. There was also a smaller stage doing hair and make up demos along with tips and tricks for tanning, picking dresses and even for the family of the bride and grooms!

 

 

On the day when visiting, everyone gets a great little goody bag filled with treats such as snacks (healthy of course.. all these women have dresses to get into!), body products and leaflets with discount vouchers specifically for those attending the show. A lovely little extra for those attending. 

It was definitely worth the £8 ticket price (prices varied as there was regularly offers) and I'll definitely be heading back this time next year as it's such a great opportunity to get a great discount on dresses for myself, bridesmaids and even flower girls! Some of the prices were such a bargain, it would be silly not to.


Twitter/Instagram: MsSarahJack xox

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Home Made Chilli

After watching my step-sister make the best smelling chilli EVER, I followed her method to make my own. Lately I've been trying to make big dishes that will last a couple of days to help us when we're so busy so this is just perfect! I've made chilli loads of times before and used different methods but this is by far my favourite way - it's fresh, healthy and super tasty. 


800g of low fat, lean beef mince
1 green pepper
1 red onion
Cherry tomatoes - halved
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
2 packets of microwave brown rice (heated up before added to mix)
Chilli flakes
Chilli flavour sachet 
Mixed herbs 
2 crushed garlic cloves
Large glass of red wine

Plus garlic bread and cheese for on top!

This is a great dish to make as it's super easy and after you've cooked the mince in a pan, it's an "all in one" pot in the sauce pan before transferring it to a casserole dish. I then mix in the wine and leave it in the oven for about half an hour.

Simple, tasty and filling.. can't go wrong!

What other hearty dishes can I make that are quick and easy during this pants weather? Tweet me links!

Xox


 

Friday, 3 February 2017

Wedding Venue Food Taster Day

I've not done a wedding blogpost or update for a while and we've managed to do so much in the last week in organising bits and pieces for the wedding, I have this and 2 other wedding blog posts in the making.. it's been a very exciting week to say the least.

Last weekend we got to visit our beautiful wedding venue; Makeney Hall in Belper, Derbyshire, and take part in a wedding taster day where we got to sample a selection of the food (and wine!) that we can choose from on our wedding day. The suite where we will have our "evening do" was all set up beautifully where we spent the afternoon and helped us with a few ideas - we have decided to upgrade our DJ package and add these L-O-V-E LED lights which I LOVE! They're huge and look fantastic.



We were joined by a few other couples that are having their wedding at the same venue and each couple had an individual table that had been set up amazingly to make it so personal to us with a selection of information cards about each course we were trying along with others that were available to choose from on the day.

Chloe, our amaaaazing wedding planner (who was in all honestly a big part of why we chose the venue) and her team had clearly gone into SO much effort with the food cards and the set up and it didn't go unnoticed.. it made me feel so welcome and even more excited for our big day! It was great to chat to the team inbetween and after courses to give our feedback or ask questions to help us prepare for our big challenge.. food picking!




To start with I had a soup selection while Nick had herbed toast with mozzarella and vine tomatoes.. clearly he liked it that much he'd eaten most of it before I'd even had the chance to get my camera out my bag! Which I can say I understand as when I tried the teeny piece he left me (so much for going halves on them all!) I was surprised at how much I like it considering I'm not a cheese fan. The only reason we decided against having it as a starter on our wedding is that it was quite big for a starter. After that and some of the 3 soups (I was kind and shared!) and his starter, Nick was full so thought it wouldn't be the best idea. The soups were lovely and were all so different.. I was partial to the Parsnip with the Apple Croutons.. purely as the apple croutons were insane! I'm just trying to decide how brave I can be in a white dress with tomato soup!

After the starter, we became classy and sophisticated with a 'palette cleanser'.. who'd have thought! It was a gorgeous champagne flavour with a cherry compote in the bottom! I won't lie, we found it quite random having almost a pudding style course inbetween starters and mains and probably won't be adding this to our meal on the day but it was nice to try something different.



Mains.. HOLY MOLY! This is where we are now totally confused and don't know which main's to select for our wedding breakfast. Nick had pork and I went for the lamb and both were beyond amazing and absolutely perfect. Don't get Nick started about the green beans being wrapped in bacon and as for the roast potatoes... mmhmmm! What I'd give to eat either of these right now. We shared eachothers again and we really don't know which to choose for our guests but we are going to head back to the next Makeney Taster day and hopefully try the Chicken and beef before we make the final choices.. although I'm sure this will just confuse us even more. I'm not a massive roast dinner fan but I couldn't even class this is a roast dinner, it was just on a totally different level! After going to weddings and having dry chicken or boring meals at black tie events, I was quite nervous but I was definitely happy with both meals and would be happy to have either on our day.



PUDDING! I don't think I've ever seen Nick so excited about anything.. EVER. Everyone had a pudding platter (there is a fancy word rather than platter but we'll stick with platter for now as I can't remember it!) in the idea of choosing between the 3 options for their wedding day but we simply couldn't decide between the chocolate torte (which I believe Nick would leave me for if he could marry a pudding instead), the lemon posset or a delicate little shortbread biscuit with cream and strawberries... so we're having all 3 set up like the below! This will be our official pudding on our wedding day. HOW EXCITING!

Obviously we couldn't eat all this food without having something to wash it down with so we got to try a couple of different proseccos, 6 wines (yes.. 6.. and it's safe to say the team were generous with their measurements!) and even a gorgeous raspberry mojito! We have selected our favourite wines and we think we've decided to go for the raspberry mojito in the 3 large cocktail containers on our day so :)



I'm so glad we have ticked a few things off the list and the food was a massive one! Even though we've not tried all the options, I'm glad we have a couple more Taster Days to go to this year to make the final decisions but we had a fantastic day.. if you're getting married and have arranged your venue, I'd suggest asking if they set up days like this to attend as it was so helpful and gave us more of an idea on what to expect. It was great to see Chloe too and have a natter and a catch up and start the official wedding planning! Only 581 days to go.




Wednesday, 1 February 2017

5 Tips To Plan A Black Tie Ball

I can't believe it's been nearly 2 months since my Black Tie ball in memory of my Sister to raise money for Bone Cancer Research Trust and When You Wish Upon A Star but I still keep looking back at the photos as it was such a fantastic night.. I still can't believe that after a year of planning it's already come and gone.

I learnt a lot in the last year.. about myself, about my friends and how to (and not to!) plan a huge event like this for 150 people! And as I have friends organising similar events as well as hopefully myself for our next event, I wanted to share what I've learnt in the last year while organising...

TIP 1: HAVE CONFIDENCE
The whole time organising the night I was worried about speaking and what I'd say, I even tried to find hosts for the evening so I wouldn't need to speak to a room of 150 odd people.. a lot of who I didn't actually know. But do you know what, when the time came, I couldn't wait to get up there and be proud of the evening I'd arranged. Yes of course I was nervous, but once I started talking and welcoming everyone, it just flowed and every time throughout the night I had to talk (even before alcohol), I actually felt really at ease as I reminded myself that at the end of the day, everyone was there for a reason (and most people were drunk!)


TIP 2: THANK THE PEOPLE WHO HELPED YOU
No matter whether they helped just a little by inviting people, whether they rounded up raffle prizes or helped set up the venue, never forget to show your gratitude for them being by your side. I did a thank you section after the meal and invited a few people up on stage. I got my parents bottles of wine as thank you presents along with my 3 best friends who arranged raffle prizes and sold tickets and repeatedly advertised the event throughout the year. I also got 2 family friends flowers as a thank you for selling tickets. It's the little things like this that people will remember.


TIP 3: GIVE SOMETHING PEOPLE CAN TAKE AWAY.
Giving people something they can take away is a great way of getting them to remember the night and giving them a little something as a remembrance so even if they don't win anything on the raffle or auction etc, they still go home with something special. At our ball we had a little merchandise table for both charities selling wristbands, pens, badges, teddy bears, balloons etc. They were only little things but not only does it raise money, they can take something home from the evening.


TIP 4: HAVE FUN!
At last year's ball I was too busy running around, stressing out and fixing everything (not that there was a lot to fix) and I really didn't make the most of the evening and I didn't take the time to enjoy it so this year I knew I had to make that change. I had to take the evening as it was, and despite how emotional it could potentially be, I needed to relax and have fun, have a laugh. I'd made sure to have some bits and bobs for people to play with and add fun and laughter to the evening - these photo props on each table were ace and have popped up in so many photos on Facebook. This is one of my favourite photos of the whole night.


TIP 5: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO TAKE AWAY!
With worrying about everyone else and making sure everyone else has something to take away to remember the evening, it's easy to forget to make something for yourself to keep. Last year all I have is the ticket I had for the evening and that was it. This year we made a Christmas tree and had these great stars from When You Wish Upon A Star for people to write messages on for £1. It was lovely the next day reading back on everyone's messages and was a fab way of raising money and sharing memories. They're something we can keep an reread as and when we like.


The Caroline Jack Ball 2016 whooped the arse of any other event I've ever organised and was one of the best nights of my life. I learnt so much after the first year of organising the ball which helped make this year even better. I felt like I made the most of the night, I enjoyed it more and the feedback was a million times better than I could've hoped for. I hope that these little pointers help anyone organising a similar event!




Friday, 20 January 2017

OOTD: V By Very (Ad)

Anyone who knows me (including the team at Very themselves who let me choose my own outfit!) knows I am obsessed with Very and I love it's variety of clothing and everything else you could possibly want.

Very is also handy for being able to buy something when you needed it urgently just before payday as you can buy now and pay later using a credit account if you so wish (which I do regularly... woops!) Just before Christmas me and Nick planned a last minute date night for the night after and thanks to Very, I managed to order a whole new outfit at 5pm for it to arrive the next morning.


I love this look as it's all very simple but for date night with good make up and curled hair, it just gives that extra little bit of glamour. I'm in love with the Skirt which is possible my favourite piece and the top and bag are clearly also popular as they're both out of stock over the festive season! I just put them all together with a pair of simple boots with a small wedge just for a little bit of something extra!

The outfit altogether was just under £100 with the top being £28, skirt coming in at £40 (which is a loooot for a skirt, but I love it!) and the bag being £30 which is great value for how often I use it now.  




Very is the home of all brands and all the clothes you could possibly need in your wardrobe with thousands of outfit options for any time - holidays, nights out, parties or even in the gym! It's my go-to website for when I need something new to wear... which I never actually "need" but you know, it's nice to treat yourself when you're going out!  



*This is a sponsored post*

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Empties: Winter Candles


OK so this is only about 1/8 of the candles I went through over Christmas but the rest were the large Yankee candles and got in the way when they were empty so we chucked them but yes.. as you can guess, I went through a shitload of candles as always over the the run up to Christmas.

As everyone does, I had my favourites that return each year; the Yankee Candle Red Apple Wreath and Christmas Cookie were returns to 2016 as well as a mini Snowflake Cookie that I had left over from 2015. A Woodwick return was Fireside which I found cheap in TKMaxx as it didn't have a lid. Talking of WoodWick, I also picked up the Pineapple WoodWick early Autumn time in the sale but it actually didn't smell as fruity as I expected and had more of a cocktail smell so I kept it for the cocktail season - plus the sound of the crackling is just perfect for cosy nights in!

This Christmas Boots brought out their own candles again but 2016 whooped 2015's arse. The Spiced Apple Crumble candle is stunning and has a wonderful baking smell yet isn't too sweet due to the apple cutting through. But the Boots winner is hands down, Christmas Pudding. This one seemed to smell stronger and last longer too but the beautiful blend of cinnamon, ginger and just "Christmas" all rolled into a £5 candle (on 3 for 2 too!) was definitely the start of a new "return each year" candle relationship..

But this winter my favourite candle of all was just £1.. yes.. ONE POUND! From Tesco too of all places - Frosted Gingerbread. I don't know how many of these I went through, easily 5+! They're only small so don't last the longest but as they're only £1 (yep, bet you're still in shock) I didn't mind purchasing a new one every week. They also did other festive scents but this was the one I repurchased.





As much as I love candles, I'm trying to make the most of using them now as there's something that doesn't feel right about burning them throughout the Summer! I guess the cold, winter nights have their perks afterall.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Novello Lounge Telford

I saved these photos on a draft a good couple of months ago and the shit blogger that I've turned into forgot and never got around to writing a post to go with them! A couple of months ago I was invited to the launch night of the new Novello Lounge Café Bar in Telford so me and Nick went along for the evening to try out their amazing tapas menu and check out the newest hotspot in Telford.

Novello Lounge is in the Southwater area of Telford town centre and has a really modern look outside which you can't miss. It looks really sophisticated and inviting. The interior inside was super chic and relaxed with board games and the art on the walls. It was a cute little place with dim lights which just made you feel so cosy.


We made the rooky mistake of driving as it was free (yes.. free!) food and drink all evening for those who were lucky enough to be invited but it meant that Nick could try the beers that were available and I may have had the 1 cocktail.

The tapas was flowing and being replenished all evening and the team were amazing at recommending dishes and bringing out dishes that you wanted to try.. my favoutites were definitely the beef and pork meatballs, the hommous, the honey-glazed 5 spice pork while Nick was re-ordering the sautéed chorizo as well as the sweet potato and butternut squash with chilli jam! 

The menu itself at Novello Lounge is great as it has a huge variety of foods from tapas dishes to burgers as well as fish and steak dishes. Novello Lounge also do a brunch menu (which we've actually been back for 3 times!) but most impressively, they do a gluten free specialised menu which I think in this day and age is so important. This was one of the things that stood out to me on the evening.


Novello Lounge just makes you feel so relaxed and at home and so at ease with it being the perfect place to meet up with friends whether it's just for coffee or cocktails, or even a 3 course meal (helloooooo Apple Crumble Cheesecake!) or tapas party. It was a brilliant night and it was made even more special by bumping into friends and meeting new people along with meeting the wonderful team who work there; all beaming smiles and hard working.

We have actually been back to Novello Lounge and done the 30 mile round trip just to eat here a number of times since the launch night and each time we've tried a new meal or a different cocktail and each time we've been left wanting to come back before we've already left. There's not a lot of places like this in Telford so this is a must for anyone who wants to try somewhere new for a relaxing date night with a nice meal or meeting up with friends over brunch.