Girls Night – Part Two

So, Part One of Girls Night saw me get my makeup done by the lovely Sasha at Clarins in Debenhams.

The girls absolutely loved my final look & I was glad to see they had already ordered a bottle of Pinot for my arrival!

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We decided to meet at The Crown at Iverley.  It’s a restaurant/bar located in a nearby village of Stourbridge, West Midlands.

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We always love to catchup over drinks & food & knowing both here are lovely, it was a winner.

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On a Thursday & Friday evening, The Crown do a special cocktail deal: 5 cocktails for £20.00.  Anybody who drinks cocktails on a night out will know what an amazing deal that is!  The list of cocktails they offer is ENDLESS!  I had to stop looking at the menu & just pick one at random!

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We arrived at 7pm & our table was at 9pm.  The bar area was absolutely heaving.  A fantastic atmosphere with really friendly bar staff.  No cocktail was too much trouble.

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We got to our table around 8:45pm and embarked on the tough choice of picking what to eat!

We noticed the specials board & instantly chose the Steak.  The Crown also have a Steak Night on a Tuesday evening & I honestly could not recommend it enough!  You really do get a great deal on such a lovely meal.

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It came with big, fat homemade chips, an oversized mushroom & peppercorn sauce.  I never normally order/eat chips but oh wow, I made an exception for these!

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No matter how full we are, we always have to see the dessert menu!  We instantly saw a ‘Popcorn Cheesecake’ & ordered three of them!  I was not disappointed!  Washed down with another bottle of Pinot, the night was concluded.

If you’re in or around the West Midlands/Stourbridge area, be sure to check it out!  There are some lovely countryside walks around so maybe pop in for a drink to warm your hands on the roaring log fire!

You can access their website here. 

Enjoy!

Girls Night – Part One

So it’s Friday night, you’ve been to work all week, and you’re going out with your girls in the evening.

If you’re anything like me, you can do your makeup to a certain standard, & that’s about it.

My two friends are absolutely stunning & their makeup ALWAYS looks flawless.

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I decided to up my game & book myself in to Clarins for a makeover.  All of my skincare is by Clarins.  I will not use anything else!  I also use their foundation & have done since the young age of 15.

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I decided to book in at 5:30pm on a Friday evening.  I finish work at 5pm & work close to a Debenhams and a Clarins counter.   I was due to meet the girls at 7pm & so I thought this would give me enough time to get home & whack on a dress!

I arrived at 5:30pm and was greeted by the lovely Sasha who instantly made me feel at home.

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She began by taking off my makeup from the day & cleansing, all with Clarins products.

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She then went & applied my makeup starting with face cream, foundation and concealer.  I use their True Radiance foundation (£27.50).

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She then started to contour which is the most exciting thing ever.  I had never, nor had I ever even attempted to contour.  I am no Kylie Jenner let me tell you.  Sasha knew exactly what would suit me, what colours to use, the fact that I like to use bronzer (I believe in Summer all year round!).  She used little tricks like applying eyeshadows as blusher etc.  She’s a makeup genius.

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The fact that I have long eyelashes, she utilised those with their Wonder Perfect mascara, which is the best thing since sliced bread!  No more drugstore mascaras for me!  Good bye hard earned salary!

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She also used a liquid eyeliner on me because I said I never used it.  She created the perfect little flick.

Sasha chatted to me about what colours I preferred, what I normally wore & what I would like to try.  We also had some general chitchat, which is lovely when you’re sat thinking ‘did I forget to pluck my eyebrows?!’  She really made me feel at ease and it was a truly relaxing experience.

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She then went and applied eyeshadow – I went for a light eye and a louder lip.  I ALWAYS go for the dark eye, pale lip, but in the hands of an expert, I wanted something different.

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The whole look was finished off with some of their Fixing Spray.  I ended up buying some of this on the evening (along with the Wonder Perfect Mascara).  I am SO glad that I did!

My makeup literally lasted 7 hours straight.  Even my lipstick did not budge.  This, may I add, was after a 3 course meal, cocktails AND wine with my girlfriends!  I was so impressed!

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I have honestly never felt so ladylike & walked out of Debenhams feeling a million dollars!  As it’s my anniversary next weekend, I am looking to go back & let her work her magic on me again!  I need her to move in with me ASAP!

So, I was all set for my evening with my girls.  Be sure to check back in the next few days to see what we got up!

 

Lunch Date

So, you know the situation.  It’s nearly Christmas, you’ve used the majority of your holiday at work & you’re left with the odd day to take off.

What do you do?

Well you go shopping of course!

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Birmingham is absolutely killing it at the moment.  Grand Central has just opened and we’re less than a week away until the new look Mailbox opens fully!  It’s all very exciting stuff! Be sure to check back next weekend to see how the Mailbox looks!

I’d heard about a new Pan-Asian restaurant/bar that had opened just under a month ago.  It’s based in Debenhams in the Bullring and it grabbed my attention straight away.  After being taken with the launch photos, I suggested going for lunch.

After about 4 hours in the John Lewis home department (I’m not even kidding), we took the short walk through to the Bullring (use the connecting walkway – this will be mega handy in Winter!) and we found ourselves in Debenhams.

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Chi Kitchen it located on the 3rd floor of Debenhams and is open for breakfast (served until 11am), light bites, lunch and serves mains until 8pm.  The bar area is also a lovely place to come, sit, relax and order a glass of champagne.

Grand Central is lovely.  Just FAR too busy for me to enjoy a nice lunch & a drink.  Yes, I want somewhere with atmosphere, but no, I don’t want to be crammed in next to a million shoppers & their Primark bags.

Chi Kitchen to the rescue! We got there for midday and by the time we left it was really filling up.  Perfect for shoppers and workers, I was sold.

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To start, we went for a selection of mixed Sashimi.  This is a great option for a couple to try all of the sashimi together.  You get a platter of 2 tuna, 2 salmon, 2 yellow tail & 2 sweet prawn.

We then ordered the two things on the menu that excited us the most (this took time, believe me, I wanted EVERYTHING!).

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We finally decided on the Szechuan Beef and the Salmon Teriyaki.

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The Salmon Teriyaki was so good that Dan only gave me a small bite!  But that was OK with me as the Beef was just as good!

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We opted for a glass of rosé champagne, because well, it’s Monday, so why not?!

The presentation  of the food was second to none.  You can see the chef preparing the sushi, sashimi etc & when you walk into the restaurant, the fresh fish is all on display.

We got to sit at the back of the restaurant which is really nice as you’re completely away from the shoppers and you have a view overlooking China Town.

The next time I visit cannot come quick enough!  I’m planning on ordering some sushi rolls with maybe some popcorn shrimp & of course, a glass of fizz!

I cannot recommend this place enough.  Friendly staff and fantastic food.  This place offers something completely different to Birmingham & it has fast become one of my favourites!

You can check out the menu on the Chi Kitchen website here http://www.chikitchen.co.uk 

And be sure to check out what else is happening in and around Birmingham!  You will not be disappointed!

Breakfast of Champions

Good morning!

Happy Wednesday! We’ve successfully reached the mid-week point… we CAN do this people!

Breakfast is, hands down, my favourite meal of the day.

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There’s nothing better than starting off your day right!

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I love getting up ridiculously early (I’m one of those annoying, chirpy morning people and NOT sorry!), & I love laying the table, putting out every breakfast item in my cupboard & then infamously shouting up the stairs to wake Daniel!

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Fresh coffee, a choice of tea, toast, bagels, pancakes, croissants, jams, honey, fresh fruit, eggs, orange juice.

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It all makes its way onto the table with my iPad which will have the latest news on it ready to be read.

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Breakfast is a perfect time to wake up, discuss the news, catch up on emails before work & just relax.  It really does go a long way.

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There’s nothing worse than being rushed in the morning.  It puts me in an awful mood for the rest of the day & believe me, that’s good for nobody!

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So, what are you waiting for? Rise and shine & go scramble some eggs!

Tapas Fridays!

Hola!

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I know, I know.  It’s Monday & we’re all sad & depressed.

I don’t know about you, but I’m already planning & looking forward to the weekend!

One of my favourite things to do on a Friday is get home from work, kick off the shoes, open a bottle of wine/champagne & relax for the evening!

I love, love, LOVE to pick up some tapas bits and bobs during the week & enjoy them all on Friday evening!

Olives, meats, artichokes, humus, prawns.  You name it, I will buy it.

Tapas is perfect in the Summer (albeit, we haven’t seen much of a Summer here in England!).  There’s nothing better than putting everything in the middle so everyone can share.  The Spanish really know how to socialise by including food.

Now, if only we could have a little bit of their sunshine!  …PLEASE!?

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Book Club: The Girl On The Train

OK, so I’m a sucker for giving into the hype when it comes to books.  I admit it. I caved.

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I had been wanting to read The Girl On The Train for months, but I was in between books & I wanted to stick out my current read!

Finally, finishing that on holiday meant I could run to the nearest bookstore (seriously) & get my hands on a copy of Paula Hawkins’ best selling novel.

I wasn’t disappointed! I managed to get through it in a few days.  Just like Gone Girl.  It’s similar to Gone Girl in the respect of A LOT of psychological activity goes on.  I love a bit of psycho thriller in a book, so this was right up my street!

I would pick this type of book over a soppy love novel any day. I think I’m a little weird.

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Anyway, without spoiling anything, I didn’t quite guess the ending which always satisfies me & I was on the edge of my seat for the entire book.

Movie-Night

With talks of it being made into a movie (another Gone Girl similarity), I will totally be at the front of the movie theatre queue.  I would 100% read the book before the movie comes out though!! I would NEVER see a movie without reading the book version first!  Call me a geek, but I like to envisage my own characters & what they would look like etc.  The movie edition could be completely different, but that’s what makes reading the book first so much more fun!

If, for some reason you haven’t read The Girl On The Train yet, (did you fall off the face of the earth?!), go & grab yourself a copy.  If you’re from the UK, your local ASDA & Tesco currently stock the book, for competitive prices, or you can head over to Amazon & pick up a copy there!

Just remember, you never know what happens behind closed doors!  Happy reading!

 

Vacation: Marbella Day Five

Our last day had arrived!

With 3 hours sleep, we made sure every alarm possible was set so we could enjoy our last few hours in Marbella!

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I had planned a boat trip over to Marbella Old Town at 11am, so we made sure we were ready!

A beautiful walk down to the Port saw any hangover drift away!

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The boat ride over to the Old Town was a highlight of the holiday. It was a perfect way to spend our last morning in Marbella.

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The views were utterly magnificent & I found myself pinching myself several times!

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Clear blue skies for miles & a beautiful sea breeze found ourselves feeling very lucky indeed!

After around 35 minutes, we were dropped at the beach. A little walk through shops, cafes & restaurants saw us in the Old Town.

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We love it here in the day time!

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The orange tress & the cute little shops are a must for us when in Marbella!

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We brought lots of lovely things to remember Marbella by & then stopped for some lunch.

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There was a singer in the square who was singing lots of beautiful love songs.

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It was like being in a film and we felt quite emotional that the holiday was soon coming to an end!

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After an amazing few hours, we got the boat back to Puerto Banus where we did some last minute shopping before catching our transfer back to the airport!

We had a late flight back to East Midlands, but with no delays & a good flight, we made it back to England with a lifetimes worth of memories.

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The holiday was absolutely perfect & I feel so lucky to have spent such a wonderful 5 days with such beautiful people in an utterly remarkable place!

Now I just need to book my next adventure…

Vacation: Day Four

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Day Four saw us somehow get up bright & early with our last but one breakfast on the balcony!

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We were getting very upset that the holiday was almost over, but we tried not to think about it!

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We had a perfect relaxing pool day catching the last bit of sunshine & lounging around with a book.

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We took a break from the 35 degree heat with some wine & some lunch at the pool bar!

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We then got ready for our last night out in Puerto Banus!

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After a bottle of cava on our balcony, we had just enough time for some last minute photos before our taxi arrived.

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When we arrived on Day One, I had emailed La Sala restaurant to see if we could reserve a table. With waiting lists of 3 weeks, I didn’t know what to expect.

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Thankfully, we got given a table & we were over the moon!

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The busiest place by far in Puerto Banus, we grabbed a pre-dinner cocktail at the busy bar!

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This is one of the best places I have been!

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Live music, fantastic food, friendly people, it was perfect!

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I couldn’t have picked anywhere else for our last night!

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After our meal, we decided to order a bottle of champagne to finish off our holiday in style.

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After La Sala closed at 2am, we then got given free entry into Aqwa Mist, which is the club attached.

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The music was fantastic & we stayed here until around 4am.

We had a plane to catch the following day, but we were having such a great time, we didn’t mind!

Come back to see what we did with our final hours in Marbella!

 

Vacation: Marbella Day Three

By Day Three, we well & truly felt like we were home!

We had planned a girlie shopping day for today & we were so excited!

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We had breakfast & walked into the Port around 10am.

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We did a little walk along the beach, visiting some shops on the Port as we strolled along!

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We then stopped off at Piucaro for lunch.  This was one of my favourite places.

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The views were utterly remarkable.  Sitting overlooking the sea with a bottle of wine & fantastic food was perfect. At that moment, I realised this is what working hard is all about.

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After lunch & with the sun still shining, we were excited to hit El Corte Ingles!

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Just off the strip, it has the best Zara! We spent an age in there trying everything on & then we found some wonderful independent stores outside.

The Spanish girls selling their beach dresses, playsuits, day dresses etc were gorgeous! We loved walking around the little stalls & ended up buying a few little dresses from there.

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Everyone is so friendly in Marbella!

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We then walked back to the resort & had a few hours in the sunshine before getting ready for night three!

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We went to the Hard Rock Cafe for a cocktail before dinner.

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I love it in here.  It’s just a fun place to go for a cocktail!

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It’s always busy, which makes for a great atmosphere before heading off on your evening!

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We then moved on to dinner at the Belvedere.

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This place was beautiful!

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The views overlooking the beach were gorgeous & the food was delicious.

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We went to our favourite little bar on the strip for champagne & cocktails & then found ourselves in Funky Buddha/Seven nightclub.

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This place was stunning inside, with amazing VIP areas.

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We found ourselves in here until closing which was around 4am.

I had a feeling Day Four would include a relaxing pool day after tonight!

Vacation: Marbella Day Two

Hello & welcome to day two!

After a perfect sleep, we got up bright & early to enjoy breakfast in the sunshine!

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We had done a food shop on our first afternoon & stocked up on bread, meats, cheeses, fruit & yoghurt so we could enjoy our breakfasts on our balcony!

We then got dressed & ready for a pool day!

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The pool area at the Vasari is beautiful.

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It’s so quiet & peaceful, with palm trees & bright flowers that moving from the pool is a hard task!

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We grabbed some morning smoothies which are made fresh at the pool bar.  I went for fresh mango. Perfect in the sunshine!

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At lunch time, we grabbed a salad & a gorgeous glass of wine at the pool bar.

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With temperatures hitting over 30 degrees, we were in pure heaven! Our holiday tans were officially started!

After a fantastic pool day, we got ready for a lovely little evening in Marbella Old Town.

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Marbella Old Town is a firm favourite of mine & I love eating here!

Less commercialised than the strip in Puerto Banus, all food is traditional Spanish.

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With the old churches & restaurants lit up in the evenings, it’s just the most beautiful place.

We chose a restaurant on the corner & sat there for the majority of the evening.

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With the candles twinkling & the white wine flowing, we were so happy.

After our meal & around 1am, we grabbed a taxi back into Puerto Banus.

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With nothing really closing until the early hours, we decided to go to the Shisha Lounge on the edge of the Port.

Overlooking the sea & underneath the stars, we sat there & relaxed with a cocktail & some apple flavoured shisha.

I do not think we had ever been so chilled!

Around 3am, we got a taxi back to the Resort ready to grab some beauty sleep ready for Day Three! x