Zara Martin For Kiehl's #SkinFluential

Oh, Kiehl's. You certainly are one of the best skincare discoveries I've made over the past few years. Although I'm a sucker for a budget beauty buy,  Kiehl's Skincare just gets on with my face so well that I would actually buy the brand again and again.  Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate is in my top 3 skincare products of all time and my skin drinks that shizz up like I do a litre of gin on a good weekend.

Although saying all of the above, this Zara Martin For Kiehl's #SkinFluential Festival Set was sent to me for blogging purposes, so no money was parted from myself to them for this, so thank you Kiehl's for absolutely making my day!

With Festival Season (helllooooo Leeds!) in the pipeline and lots to plan for, it's certainly a treat I can get on board with and it's definitely taking the hassle out of even having to think about what skincare to consider taking - Not only for festival's but also for summer in general! This little limited edition tote bag of wonder contains everything you need to protect, perfect and rescue your skin when exposed to the elements and even recovering after you've had your fun.

So, what's in the Kiehl's Festival Survival Kit bag?

Kiehl's Skin Rescuer - 75ml (£29.50)
Kiehl's Micro-Blur Skin Perfector - 30ml (£23)
Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 - 60ml (£31)
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser - 75ml (£8.50)
Kiehl's Creme De Corps - 30ml (About a fiver for this size)
Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate - 4 ml (30ml is £36)

Now, don't get me wrong, the bag of wonder isn't cheap and will set you back £94 (!) but the contents are all well considered and each thing has been added for a purpose.

My favourite product from this selection (apart from the Midnight Recovery Concentrate which I already love) is the Micro Blur Skin Perfector, which is not only a brilliant product to use as a primer and smoothing your face, refining the texture - but it also improves your skin with continued use. Since using it every day for the last week I've notice my spots have started to really clear up and the cheeks somehow feel much plumper! Lipo Hydoxy Acid is going to be the next *big thing* in skin care I reckon, and Kiehl's are ahead of the game with this one. It's a really good ingredient to have for spot prone skin which is dry like mine, as it's structure doesn't penetrate the skin as deeply as products such as Glycolic Acid, so this means it's a bit less harsh and I'm finding it not as drying as other products for spotty skin. Not only that, but it's anti bacterial and anti inflammatory as well as gently exfoliating your skin. No wonder I'm seeing such great improvements!

You can pick up this set and check out more in the Kiehl's range online here.

Zara Martin For Kiehl's #SkinFluential

Zara Martin For Kiehl's #SkinFluential
Zara Martin For Kiehl's #SkinFluential

Birchbox Royally Good April Box

So with the birth of the second Royal Baby imminent, it seems every brand and their cat are on the case when it comes to tying a marketing campaign in to the event. The Birchbox Beauty Box for April is no different and with the theme 'Royally Good' it's a box to mark the occasion in style. Presented in a really cute blue (or pink!) box which is decorated with a quaint bird print, it's certainly an eye catching alternative to other same ol' same ol' beauty box boxes.

Inside you will find a selection of samples from well known brands including Bliss, Percy & Reed and KORRES. I don't know if it's just me though, but is KORRES like a beauty box disease or something? It seems you cannot go a month without seeing them crop up in one beauty box or another. Fortunately, I am a massive fan of the brand so for me, it's great to be able to keep my stockpile going, but for others I imagine seeing them again and again is rather tiresome. Especially when they're not really that well known of a brand. Another thing which niggled me a little bit (and confused me as well!) was that on the leaflet inside the box it says that the Laura Mercier products were pot luck between the Foundation Primer, Eyeliner and Mascara. Now I know I received this box as a PR sample, but I would have been really disgruntled if I had paid the full price and seen I'd missed out on the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer! It's literally my favourite primer EVER and to get an eyeliner instead made me sigh with disappointment a little. It then became more confusing when on the website you get to choose between the eyeliner or the mascara, with no mention of the primer. I'm going to assume that the leaflet was printed before the final products were signed off, but who knows. Either that or I'm just really dumb and don't get what I'm reading, haha.

But anyway, enough of the niggling and on to the rest of the box! 

For a total of £12.95 a time, it's one of the better value subscription boxes on the market. Consistently good quality and always including brand names you would of heard of. I love how the boxes vary in design and each one has a theme. When you sign up for Birchbox you can also fill in your beauty profile, which means that the products will be tailored for you - another winning factor when it comes to the beauty box game. Overall I think Birchbox is one of my favourite subscription boxes on the market at the moment. Not only do they have a good variety of contents month to month, but they seem to pick up where other boxes left off and have refined the system and gone one step further than the competition. The quirky narrative of the boxes is also a winner for me, as I love having something to read when I get these things! 

You can discover more about Birchbox subscription beauty boxes in the UK by clicking here.

Birchbox Royally Good April Box

vichy dermablend review and swatches

If you've not seen me mention my new found love of Vichy Dermablend Corrective Fluid Foundation over on Twitter, then it's probably because you unfollowed me during my last love affair with it a few weeks ago. It's definitely one of those make up products I really wish I'd bought sooner! Not only is this full coverage foundation perfect for covering your acne, spots and blemishes, it's also friendly to your skin due to the lack of fragrances and alcohol in it. Hypo-allergenic and Non-comedogenic, this foundation is also suitable for sensitive skin. 

Not only do Vichy create this amazing Dermablend Foundation, but there are other products within the same range, which will all help towards feeling confident when your spots are making you feel like a walking pizza (mmmm pizza). After expressing my Vichy Fluid Foundation love on the internet, the lovely PR from Vichy thought I might like to try some of the other products and it was a no-brainer that I instantly jumped at the chance to also try their Dermablend Corrective Stick and Compact Cream Foundation.

vichy dermablend review and swatches
(from left to right) Sand. Nude. Opal

As you can see, the Vichy Dermablend Corrective Stick is a concealer like product, which is easily applied straight to the skin like any regular concealer would. The shades I'm trying are Opal, Nude and Sand. They provide a full coverage camouflage to any areas of your skin which you feel need covering up! Simple. The only concern with these three shades is that Opal and Nude seem to be very similar, and without looking at the bottom of the tube I can't tell which is which? In fact, Opal actually looks slightly darker than Nude in the swatches above! Thankfully both suit my skin tone. Sand is the darkest shade and this work wonderfully for a subtle day time contour, as you can see in the FACE SWATCHES below. All I've done in these images is apply one line of each shade roughly where I wanted them and buffed them in to the skin with my real techniques buffing brush. This is probably the quickest, easiest and most wearable 'contour' method I've found so far, in my quest to make these big round cheeks have some form of definition. Pop a little bit of peachy blusher on to the apples of your cheeks and you're good to go!

As mentioned previously, The Vichy Dermablend Foundation is the one. My use of concealer has declined ten fold and this is now the only foundation I find myself using. In my last blog post (which you can see by clicking here) about the foundation in Nude, I did find it a little bit dark. Unlike the Dermablend Corrective Sticks, you can see that Dermablend in Opal is clearly a lighter shade than Nude. Although on first application the Opal shade seems a little light, once all my make up is on I have found it to be a really good match. I have started to blend the two together, just to make them last a bit longer really, as I think if I used Nude alone I'd be too paranoid about my face-neck colour difference. Once again applied with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush it blends effortlessly and lasts all day long. I have found that different primers can affect the 'airbrushed' finish, and so far the Monu Illuminating Primer seems to be the best one to suit the formula. 

Finally, we have the Dermablend Compact in Nude. I think this is probably the only one I wouldn't buy again as I just don't get on well with compact foundations really. I always find that no matter what the brand or claim I end up looking like a cakey mess. This is probably down to application on my part, as the Dermablend formula is really silky and lightweight. I tried applying it with the sponge it came with and really wasn't a fan, but then went on to try it with a brush and found definite improvement. I don't think I'd feel confident wearing this as a full foundation on it's own, but as mentioned this is mostly personal preference. The coverage, as with the other products, is brilliant. 

You can find Vichy products online from Look Fantastic here, or find out more information about the range over on the Vichy Dermablend website here.
Beer Can Chicken at Black Dog Bowl Manchester, Sunday Dinner with a twist! On Hello Terri Lowe, UK food blog.

So, when you hear that a chicken is going to come served with a can of beer up it's ass you'll probably think one of two things. The first thought option is 'ERRMMMAGHHEERRRD THAT'S GROSS' or the second thought option is 'Hmmmm that looks so weird, I need to try it' ....As always, my first thought was option number two. I mean, it looks so weird. I just HAD to try it.

In steps Black Dog Bowl in Manchester. Who not only let you enjoy a casual game of bowling in their very own alleys at the back of the restaurant itself, but also do a Sunday Special in the form of this chicken with a can up it's butt. Okay, the technical name for the dish is 'Beer Can Chicken' but every time I say that it just sounds like I'm doing a bad Jamaican accent, trying to say bacon or something. 

Anywayyyyy... So what's the point of beer can chicken? WELL, the idea is that by slow roasting the chicken with a can of beverage in it's bum, it infuses the flavours and makes the meat a little more moist (I hate describing meat as 'moist' it's too much innuendo in the most gimmest of ways).  For £20 at Black Dog Bowl, you can get enough Beer Can Chicken and sides to feed three hungry mouths comfortably, and two hungry mouths to satisfaction. I say this because it's tailored to feed two, but when I had it we shared it between three and we all left feeling *just right* in our bellies. 

Alongside the full roast chicken, you also get whipped mash, BBQ beans, Carolina Slaw and two corn of the cobs. The highlight of the sides, for me, was the BBQ beans which had a delicious smokey flavour. It was like pimped up baked beans, with a lovely BBQ and spice kick, topped with cripsy onions. The mash was... Just mash I guess. But I'm never the biggest fan of potatoes in mash form. Give me roasted any day of the week, yum. The gravy was absolutely delicious. I could have drunk the stuff straight from the jug! I kind of put off even trying the Carolina Slaw because it looked a bit meh, but when I finally tasted it I found it to be really delicious. I expected it to be bitter because it appeared to be mainly red cabbage, but in actual fact, it was really sweet and moreish. The chicken itself had the most delicious, crispy skin alongside the succulent meat, definitely a winning combination.

After we'd finished eating our Sunday Dinner with a twist, we headed to the back of Black Dog to find the bowling alley. This is the second time I've been bowling in my life, as it's one of those activities which I always assume is going to be boring, but each time I've been I've actually really enjoyed it! I liked how Black Dog Bowl isn't surrounded by seizure inducing arcade games and noisy pop music, and it's basically the cool alternative to the garish and cheesy experience bowling tends to be usually. Oh, and it helps that both times I've been bowling, I've won. 

Can we also just take a moment to appreciate the design of the bowling ball holder thing below.

Check out more from Black Dog Bowl and that Sunday Dinner by clicking here.

Beer Can Chicken at Black Dog Bowl Manchester, Sunday Dinner with a twist! On Hello Terri Lowe, UK food blog.

The other weekend I went to Liverpool to meet up with a bunch of work pals and also try out a Travelodge for the night! Travelodge has always been that kind of budget hotel chain I never really think of looking at. I think this is because once I had one of their £29 room offers and we ended up in a room which was like something off a horror movie. Ok, that's probably an exaggeration, but I distinctly remember holes in the walls which looked remarkably like gun shot holes!

Travelodge have come a long way over the past few years though and they're currently refurbishing a bunch of hotels, to make them comfortable, affordable and convenient in one swoop. And the Liverpool Central Travelodge was just that. A really great location, with a super comfy bed and if you check out the prices online it turns out to be a bargain compared to some of the other city central hotel rivals. My only criticism is that when we stayed a group a 50 year old Welsh women came back at around 1am and were making such a terrible row in the corridor that we had to put the Eastenders Omnibus on extra loud to sleep. We couldn't reach the reception from the room as there was no phone, and google only threw up the booking hotline?! It did make me wonder what the case is meant to be if there was a real emergency or y'know someone had a fight or started a fire - but fortunately this rowdy Welsh lot went to bed at around 3am after singing and pricking about outside our room for a bit!

When we woke up the next day, we grabbed a much needed coffee at Central Perk in Liverpool, which if you couldn't tell is a Friends themed coffee shop. It used to be up near the Travelodge, but they've moved over town and you'll now find them on the way up to China town on a street I do not know the name of. Now, the prices are pretty steep for a coffee shop I thought, as a latte sets you back around £2.50, but you are paying for the novelty of *that* cup I guess. And I'm a sucker for novelty.

We didn't have time to do much sightseeing, and with Liverpool only being an hour away from Stoke, that wasn't too much of a loss. It was nice to go casually for two days and see work mates outside of work for a change! We did go to the Cathedral, which was beautiful as ever, and then there was that burger at Death Row Diner which you can read about by clicking here.Unfortunately, as soon as we got there the battery on my camera died - hence the poor quality phone camera shots! Else I could have shown a few fancier things Liverpool has to offer. But overall, an enjoyable and relaxed trip for the weekend, which from Stoke is a really affordable little adventure.

death row diner liverpool
central perk liverpool

After Manchester, Liverpool is definitely my favourite city (apart from Stoke on Trent, of course) and one I always find myself drawn back to.

What's your favourite city? Please don't say Birmingham (sorry, Brummies!)

I think this Easter bank holiday weekend has really gotten the best of me right now! I've managed to have 6(!) really unhealthy take away meals since Thursday, and went out to dance the night away with a lot of alcohol twice. Usually I have one 'treat' a week, the form of pizza Friday, and get drunk about twice a month! My body is certainly suffering today. I'm going to blame it all on feeling really crap because I've managed to block my ear and can't hear a damn thing out of it. I've tried everything to clear it from Olive Oil to the spray the doctor has given me, but it seems that I'm destined to have partial hearing until I get them syringed on Friday, and I literally cannot wait. It's the most frustrating thing in the world!

Today I've taken a day off LIFE and just visited my baby niece and went down to my Grandparents house to have a rummage in my hoarder Grandad's hauls of retro swag. I managed to dig out a load of old keys, which I'm going to be using for an event I'm planning in Manchester soon (!!!) and also picked up these 50's/60's tins which I instagrammed here. If anyone has any idea how much these are worth or where I can sell them let me know!

I picked up these weird jogging bottom, come trousers, from TK Maxx over the weekend. I've been after some comfortable trousers, which actually fit me properly, that I can wear for work or in general life for ages. Of course, this seems like an impossible task when you have something specific in your head and you can never find what you want anywhere. Anyway, I stumbled upon these by chance and they were reduced to £9. They're a really light material too, looking good with either heels or trainers, winner. The only thing I'm uncertain of is the length, they could do with being a few inches shorter, but that's only because I'm so short.

 Trousers TK Maxx // Shoes Orla Kiely x Clarks // Bag Henry Holland

How's your bank holiday weekend been?