Sunday, 22 March 2015

What I Wore: Spa Weekend in County Durham

Hey all! So recently I had a gorgeous mini weekend away with my boyfriend at The Manor House Hotel in County Durham. I love Durham so much, i've been quite a lot of times having grown up so close in Newcastle upon Tyne, and it's such a pretty place. It was a fairly good weekend, very windy, but we managed to do a lot of shopping and have some nice walks around the village where we were actually staying, about an hour out of the city.

This was the first time i've ever been to a spa - I know, right? Well I can confirm it's certainly not going to be the last time, because I have obviously been missing out. Although just small, the hotel has a pool, gym, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi, as well as offering a range of treatments. Our room was nice, just across from the main building in the courtyard - the hotel itself is amazingly interesting, as it is drenched in history. The main bit of the building used to belong to Henry VIII as one of his northern hunting lodges! It's been lovingly preserved throughout whilst still having all of the modern conveniences, and has a really lovely welcoming atmosphere. There was a wedding fair on the weekend that we stayed and I couldn't help but think that it would be a really, really special place to get married.

Left - Floral Blouse from Primark, Statement Necklace from New Look, Jeans from New Look 

Center - Top from H&M, Khaki stretch jeans from River Island 

Right - Dress from New Look, Tights from Primark, Ballet Pumps from Brantano Shoes

As well as exploring Durham, we took a nice long walk around the area, and had dinner in the hotel restaurant which was just amazing. In the spa itself we both enjoyed a swim and a steam both days we were there, and I opted to have a facial. This was really strange but really nice - i've not really experienced someone else washing my face for me in quite a few years! The girl was lovely though, and chatted away to me while she exfoliated, smoothed and massaged my face, giving me skincare advice and asking questions about my blog. The products she used were almost exclusively Kaeso ones, which wasn't a brand I'd come across before, but they smelled and felt lovely. A quick google tells me that they use all natural ingredients and that all products are free from Parabens, Sulphates, Propylene Glycol and Mineral Oil, which can only be a good thing really. My skin felt thoroughly calmed and soothed for a good two days afterwards, and I think it'd be a really nice thing to have done before a special occasion, or even just as a general pick me up on a bad week.

I hope you're all having a lovely Sunday and i'm sorry this post is later than expected! I'm well aware i've been a bit absent this month, between health issues, work and visiting friends I've hardly had a minute free, but i'll be back this week now. Enjoy your weekends and may you have a great week ahead! Almost April already, can you believe it?!

- Natalie XOX

Friday, 6 March 2015

Coming Up Rosy - Max Factor Spring '15

Hey all! It is so nice here today, coinciding perfectly with the beginning of my few days off work, so i'm making the absolute most of it. I've been working in the garden a little bit, planting some bits and pieces and starting off some seeds indoors, and took a trip into town with John earlier to have a walk around and pick up mother's day presents for our mams. I needed some new foundation and the Max Factor counter surprised me with a lovely little free gift! I love when these come out, they're such good value for money and always really seasonal. This 'Coming Up Rosy' box is spring themed and free when you spend £15 at any Max Factor counter, and contains:

  • Colour Elixer Lipstick in Star Dust Pink 
  • Glossfinity Nail Varnish in Pink'ed
  • 24 False Lash Effect Mascara in Black
  • £2 / €3.50 off any Facefinity or Skin Luminizer All Day Primer or Foundation
The selection is a very pink one, perfect for early Spring and was put together by Caroline Barnes, a make-up artist whose comments and tips are included in the box in a little booklet. I'm interested to try out the mascara, as i'm a fan of the standard False Lash Effect -  I wonder if this is any noticeably longer-lasting. 

The Pink'ed nail varnish is a lovely colour, sort of nude undertones but with a hint of orange brightness. I'm not sure how it'll look with my skin tone, as I think it'll look better with a tan, but i'm going to give it a try and if not it'll be passed onto my sister, more that likely. I also bought this lovely little mini varnish in Cactus Green, which caught my eye as I don't actually have any green varnishes! These little minis are really handy as they last ages and are great to chuck into makeup bags and try out new colours. 

This lipstick is super difficult to photograph! It's a much milder and lighter pink in real life than it looks here, and has an almost frosted sort of finish, which i've always been a bit scared of with my pale skin. I actually sort of love it though?? It's bright and light without being too in your face, and as always with Colour Elixer, the application is a dream, smooth and creamy and plain lovely. This is going into my makeup bag for sure. 

I am wearing: Max Factor Facefinity 3 in 1 Foundation, Avon Ideal Luminous Blush, Max Factor Wild Shadow Pot in Gold Amazon, Boots Collection Pressed Powder in 18 Ivory, Max Factor 24 False Lash Effect Mascara and Soap and Glory, and apparently, a whole lot of hair. I seriously need a haircut!

You can pick up this free gift at any Boots Max Factor counter whilst stocks last, so make sure you get them while they're still around! 

- Natalie XOX

(This was a free gift associated with a purchase I made with my own money - all opinions are my own)

Monday, 2 March 2015

March Goals

March is supposed to bring with it the first beginnings of Spring, so I was terribly disappointed today when I wore a nice new floral dress to work and immediately got snowed on when I stepped out of the house. Ah, Britain. What would we do without your ever changeable weather. Anyhoo, another month has gone by and it's been a fun one if i'm honest. My sister came down to visit for a weekend, I won my first independent deal at work, I did a legit blog photo-shoot and everything - it's been pretty good, overall. I reorganised and tidied the house a little, although I didn't get a chance to make the window seat i've been planning - hopefully get that done soon. I've been making an effort to take at least one bubble bath a week which has been much appreciated, as well as drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day. My skin is thanking me greatly for both. So what else am I going to do this month? Well...

  • ESCAPE - I am going on my first ever spa day this month! I can't wait, it's a real treat for me and I'm hoping to go on many more in the future. I'm going to have a massage, have a swim, go for a three course meal and spend a night in a luxurious hotel. SO excited. Anyone have any tips on what to do there to make the most of it? 
  • KEEP IN TOUCH - I have friends and family all across the country - and the world for that matter - and soooometimes with my hectic schedule it's easy to get busy and slip out of touch for a week or so, e. With the internet making communication so easy, I've really got no excuse, so this month i'm going to make an extra special effort to skype, facebook, whatsapp, write letters and do whatever else it takes to keep up to date with everyone.
  • SHARE - As some of you may know, it is currently Lent, and this year rather than give something up for 40 days, i'm doing a 40 days of good deeds challenge which is really fun. Every day I get an email with a little challenge to complete, like compliment someone I don't know, or buy someone a drink at the coffee shop when i'm ordering. I'm going to try and share positivity with everyone as much as possible this month - because why not??
  • GROW - This was my word of the year, and i'm still sticking to it! Growth in all senses of the word, including literal by clearing out the front and back gardens one weekend this month in order to sow some new seeds ready for Spring to hopefully appear soon. I love me some begonias. 
So there it is, another month's worth of resolutions. Have you got anything nice planned this March, or anything you want to share? I'd love for these posts to become a place where we all share our plans and hopes for the month ahead, so feel free to let me know in the comments!

Have a great day, blog readers, and I'll see you all soon.

- Natalie XOX