Exploring Birmingham

Recently I was set a rather fabulous challenge to explore my hometown of Birmingham. I've been on an excursion across the city to expose my favourite hidden gems, in collaboration with

The city is my oyster each weekend but it’s been so long since I became a tourist and immersed myself in the exclusive activities right on my doorstep. How delightful to have a day purely to indulge! I crafted my itinerary and off I went. I hope a few of these haunts inspire a weekend in Brum too. Hotels in Birmingham will be central to a certain district, but each area can be reached easily on foot.


My day started with food naturally, and Birmingham has a huge independent restaurant scene, often sprung from the in-demand food vendors of Digbeth Dining Club, to Michelin star ventures with a twist. A place I’d been eyeing up for a while is Tiger Bites Pig, boasting Asian inspired bao, bowls and beers, and my pit stop didn’t disappoint. Close to Birmingham New Street Station, I hopped off my local train and pulled up a stool to sample a soft yet tangy tofu and aubergine bao, and crunchy, sour pickles.


I embarked towards my next destination with a stop at Medicine Bakery, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it doorway to an artisan cafe and gallery. Set in the restored home of the Royal Society of Birmingham Artists, the local and ethically sourced ingredients mean a vast array of cakes and bakes greet you at the entrance. I didn’t explore the gallery this time but picked up a delicious banana bread and courgette cupcake for my journey. 


I spent the next hour at Birmingham Art Gallery for their new Too Cute exhibition, curated by Rachel Maclean. Sweet definitely got sinister in this Barbie pink space packed with pieces to consider why we have a constant habit of using rosy emojis and animal snap chats - as a distraction to the tumultuous modern world? - and how something can be so cute that we want to squeeze or eat it, which in itself is quite barbaric! From fairy tales to fairgrounds, the high contrast made for a sensory overload that bordered on extremity. I recommend picking up one of the guide books to read as you explore. A fascinating ride, and an appearance from my favourite Lily Cole.


A refuel was needed before my next activity so I browsed Grand Central, boasting a vast range of dine-in experiences from every corner of the world. Though this is technically the train station, you'll find solo diners, families and dates at the eateries, despite the hustle and bustle of a station. I grabbed a bowl of Uptown Mac from Holy Moly, the macaroni connoisseurs. The mushrooms and truffle oil pimped out the gooey, salty mac 'n' cheese, and the crispy onions added a crunch against the soft macaroni.  

My final treat was a performance of Beauty and the Beast by Birmingham Royal Ballet, which could be the city's proudest offering. As one of David Bintley CBE's final productions after 24 years as Director, this was a highly emotional send off. The ballet itself told the story of how the beast was captured, and how Belle navigates her pompous, yet hilariously portrayed, sisters. Momoko Hirata was exquisitely graceful, moving across scenes in a ripple, and the animalistic characters were aggressive yet sweet at times as they emerged from the dark, twisted set. You soon forget you are watching a choreographed dance. It was a treat for the eyes and the talent is mesmerising. The Hippodrome Theatre promises an amazing view from every tier, and in the '50s my Nan queued up for last chance seats to see all of the great artists. As a school French Horn player (fun fact), I also get a surge of delight whenever the brass section calls valiantly from the orchestra pit!


I really fell back in love with solo time while taking the challenge. The topic of the moment is being 'alone' or 'single', but when you're by yourself, sometimes being solo is a most sociable option. I had a chat with a little old lady at the train station who asked about the last stop on the line. I queried if she had been before and she said no but one day she would take a trip there to explore! At the theatre, I just beat a man to the ice cream queue and we remarked on the amazing performance. At the gallery, I chatted with the museum curator who gave me his thoughts on the carousel horse above.

When you are with friends or family, you’re absorbed in your relationship, but when alone, the world is your oyster and a conversation with a stranger is your vessel. I hope you are inspired to try new and favourite things solo too!

The spending money was gifted by, but all views are my own.

Browns | Bullring, Birmingham


My friends and I are realising the joy of midweek evenings. Of course we still see the weekend as the unmissable chance to see each other and let the working week slip away with the help of a cocktail and a dance floor, but now that is not enough. Five days is simply too long to trudge home after work, still holding the jumble of deadlines and delegations in your mind, while pondering if that dented tin of soup is still at the back of the cupboard. No, we need a pick-me-up in the middle of our working week to save hump day from being an excuse to dig out the takeaway menus. We need a real catch up to talk through the highs and tolls that life brings with each Monday, and we also need that Friday night of good food and chat before heading off to loud, distracting bars.
This is when we swoop upon the restaurants of Birmingham and have that initial conundrum of choosing our destination. I was offered an evening for two at Browns Brasserie and Bar, nestled warmly in Bullring's Spiceal Street; the central hub surrounded by the vibrant architecture of St. Martin's Church and the Selfridges silver domes. It was a case of knowing exactly where it was but never having had it pop into my mind as a destination to head to. 
With a thrilled pal in tow, we were welcomed into the sophisticated space, warmly lit with cosy corners and an open view onto the vast church. Stylish and contemporary, this is a perfect date place. A spacious table plan, flattering lighting and a soft ambience ticks all of my date night boxes!
I was pleasantly surprised by the extensive menu. Alongside a dedicated limited edition tender beef menu that my friend appreciated, the options across the starters and sharers made way for light mains, mains and grills. And many will be happy to note this includes gluten free options such as lobster and fries, and vegan options such as courgette, mint & lemon tagliatelle, to name but a few. I had earlier surrendered to the temptation of looking at the menu online before arriving as my new favourite thing is to choose our dish during the day so you can look forward to it! I was day dreaming of the whole baked Somerset Camembert but the variety of the Fisherman's platter trumped all other dishes. Severn & Wye smoked salmon, salt & pepper squid, Devon crab on toast, British mussels, and warm toasted bread. The bread was indeed warm, the salmon was indeed smoked, and the platter was certainly worthy of any fisherman's prize offering. I think with seafood you either love it or you steer clear, and this starter is for the seafood appreciation society. We accompanied this with the light feta salad, with the variety of tomatoes being a colourful twist.
Onto the mains. Oh what a revelation this lobster was! I'm now a lobster fan and I'm willing to share this with the internet. I had never tried lobster before! I feel the opportunity had never crossed my path and that is rather tragic! Despite the Browns signature cheesy fish pie and the sea bass generously accompanied by a stew of prawns, mussels and squid, I feel lobster is having it's moment right now and I had to get on board, mind the pun. It was a fresh, light, delicious treat and the perfect portion with perfectly crisp on the outside, soft on the inside chips and a mayonnaise with an avocado twist. I'm a lobster convert!
My friend opted for the steak and gave it beyond full marks. Browns have their own British farms to rear their own cattle so you can trust in the source of your steak.
Could we fit in any more food? There's always room for dessert! The menu was a struggle. Sticky toffee pudding, salted caramel profiteroles, caramelised lemon tart, or my current favourite, creme brulee? Decisions, decisions! But something called me to the banoffee pie with caramelised banana and chocolate popping candy. That certainly gave a subtle tingle to the rich caramel sauce and sugary white icing of the pie. It was like the best birthday cake with a gooey banana side and it completely disappeared from this plate! My friend opted for the chocolate brownie with the huge dollop of honeycomb ice cream and toffee sauce and was equally pleased.
Put Browns on your agenda and prepare for a perfectly satisfying evening. It's going to stay on my list for date options and also as a great option for family visits or group outings! Not forgetting to thank our super helpful waiter Domas for looking after us too!

Halloween with #DebsGlamoween


Happy Halloween ghouls and gals! Last week I hurried along to a frightfully fabulous beauty event held at Debenhams Bullring and it seriously got me in the spooky spirit. OK I'll quit the puns there, but it got me oh so inspired for Halloween and you can see my look here!

Debenhams hosted an extravaganza of Halloween beauty and we bloggers were treated to a masterclass from different counters. I don't always head to Debenhams first for my makeup buys but with the likes of Illamasqua and Make Up For Ever on my doorstep now, my product wishlist just got a whole lot longer.

First we followed a contoured skeleton look at Make Up For Ever, home of the HD foundation that was possibly my first ever Kardashian-inspired purchase circa 2011. I love the concession area they have now and these are the light-up mirrors of my dreams! MUFE have so many pro and niche products, from skin moulding putty to a very blood-like red liquid. I'm keen to try their base and finishing products as the quality is so high and they can ugrade your FOTD to flawless finish levels. Their HD powder is the one! We had a sample to take home with us and it's like applying fairy dust each morning - it's so light yet so good!

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With a glass of fizz in hand, we popped across to Illamasqua and all adored Chetna's cryptic clown look. I loved chatting to her about all of the different looks she was trying each day for Magikmasqua. HOW cute is this one! I've recently bought a palette, lipstick and contour duo after having a makeover there and I'm firmly an Illamasqua convert. They have some Christmas gift sets of all different sorts of products and we also tried the latest collect in aid of the charity S.O.P.H.I.E., which Illamasqua has a long standing partnership with.

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Next we took a seat the glitteringly gothic Urban Decay counter and watched the classic costume tutorial of 'I'm a mouse, duh!'. Genius! The unicorn tears are so sweet too. Absolute glitter goals! We cooed over the palettes and admired their adorable pumpkin. I've been waiting literally years for my perfect Urban Decay palette and as soon as they bring out a warm, peachy set, I'll be straight there. I haven't given UD enough focus in recent years as I feel they are all about the colour, and nowadays I'm not sure if brights really suit me! That is nothing makeover can't sort out though - I must book in soon and find my perfect UD shades!

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Thank you Debenhams for a hugely inspirational evening and a peek at some gorgeous products. I also included the evening in my weekly vlog below! Did you know I have started weekly vlogging again? Indeed I have!

Bullring Your Five AW16


On Saturday I glammed up and headed to my favourite destination - Bullring! It's actually a huge treat for me to take myself shopping on a weekend because I always seem to be overloaded with errands and family engagements on Saturdays, and I don't often grant myself free reign of the shops. I used to love visiting after work and spending a few quiet hours browsing but I can't get there with enough time at my new job so it's strictly a weekend affair. 

Bullring hosted a Your Five event to showcase new season trends with free beauty and style consultations. I booked in and was first toured around five stands of autumn staples: the skirt, the coat, the trousers, the knit and the shoe!

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The stylist pulled out different trends of this season, from military coats to ruffled knits to metallic booties. Instead of jumping on several trends, it was the perfect way to clearly see a concentrated selection of key styles and pick the one item from each category that I gravitated towards. All items were collated in a curated list there and then that was shortly emailed to me later in the day - handy!


I was itching to dive into the shops and hunt out my new chosen trends, but next was my makeup consultation where you could choose from five key beauty looks of the season, including dark lips and flicked liner. I chose contouring as it's STILL the technique I can't quite perfect and it was undoubtedly the best lesson I've had. Makeup artist Sarah talked me through the subtle ways I could use a cream contour stick to first map out the angles of my face and then blend to a seamless finish. I definitely took my shopping list of products and went to hunt them all down after!


I entered the Bullring PLUS app competition too as I am seriously in need of winning big now that I have a shopping list as long as my arm! Thank you Bullring for inviting me down; it really made sense of AW16 and I'm looking forward to putting my learning into practice. Let's hit the shops!

High Definition Brows @ Benito Brow Bar, Debenhams


Did you know HD Brows is actually a brand and not just a treatment to get those brows on fleek? Well I've experienced a brow revolution and now I'm worshipping at the alter of brow benefits. I get my brows trimmed and threaded every month and there's nothing like the sleek transformation they give to not only your face but also the way your makeup looks. A tidy brow means a tidy look. There's an ahhh-mazing Polish salon near me that has the best brow gal who charges just £3 but I'm never in that area so I'll just get them done at my nail salon. There's no direction there though and while I am left with neat brows, you don't get the custom look that you get at a dedicated brow bar. The way they are shaped determines how they then grow, so a qualified brow professional will encourage and cultivate your brows to grow into the shape that best defines your features.


High Definition is the brand that started the brow craze and they recently collaborated with Benito Brow Bar in Debenhams, Bullring. I had the premium brow treatment and it has literally transformed my look from the 3-week-post-threading version above to the defined sisters below. There is no 'one shape fits all' treatment here; my Elite HD brow stylist carefully tinted, waxed, threaded, plucked, trimmed away to reveal a set worthy of any Instagram close up.


A life transformation may be a little extreme of a description but I've absolutely reaped so many benefits of having such defined and groomed brows. My beauty buddy Georgie always sang the praises of brow tinting as you wake up already feeling made up, but brows are such a natural part of a beauty routine that it's not comparable to fake lashes or makeup tattoos. They subtly frame your eyes and nod to your cheek bones, lifting your face shape, and if dyed correctly, the colour should compliment your eye and hair colour. When I look in the mirror first thing in the morning and attempt to get from the 'head smooshed into the pillow' look to 'fresh-faced and professional' and out the door by 7.32am (the 2 minutes is very important), my face already looks ready and presentable.
My brow artist explained how she had left certain areas to grow while trimming others in order to start to achieve the new shape naturally. She also showed where any make up was applied, which you can pick up from High Definition's own range. I've had my brows tinted at high street salons before and the dye has faded after a few face washes, but these brows still stand strongly a few weeks later. There are also no signs of needing to get them redone any time soon but I'm definitely going to book in again before my Abu Dhabi/Dubai holiday as they are perfect for a pool-side no-makeup look.


Style Birmingham Live 2015


Last weekend was a HUGE weekend in Birmingham, with Grand Central finally open, arts festivals, the Rugby World Cup, and Style Birmingham Live - a fashion and shopping event with catwalks, goody bags, stylists and lashings of champagne. I've only ever known what it's like to live in major cities and these events just encompass how thriving Birmingham is, and how seriously we take shopping. It's not about browsing a store and coming away with a few shopping bags one weekend; it's about studying the runways, examining the trends marching past, pillaging the racks in the huge flagship-size stores, and wearing what represents you. There are so  many different styles and cultures here that the vibe is all about striving for the best sense of your own style and shopping the newest items first, rather than jumping on bandwagon, diluted trends. 


There are now five department stores in the city centre and numerous difference areas of the town that offer a different fashion landscape. I headed to the Gas Hall Gallery early on Saturday morning, literally battling through the crowds in New Street Station at the launch of Grand Central/John Lewis, and met up with a gaggle of fantastic local bloggers. I'm sure there's becoming a bit of a Birmingham blogger collective now and it's really lovely. We took our seats in front of the catwalk at the final forth row so we could stand up and take all of our annoying photos, and sweetheart Mark Wright presented a trend session with stylist Mark Heyes. I did look out for bae Michelle Keegan but no joy there.


It was a fabulous array of trends, looks, and gorgeous, unique models. Plus some seriously hot male models - I did actually spot my future husband. Seeing clothes move on real bodies and sachet down a catwalk live really does bring the trends to life, and we were taken through Red Hues, Haute Hippie, Urbanista, and many more. Such fun!


After that breathe of fresh fashion air, we hot-footed down to House of Fraser for a Bobbi Brown Backstage Beauty event. You know I love talking to professionals and soaking up their wisdom, so I was all ears for this masterclass. Amy Conway, Bobbi Brown Pro Artist for the UK & Ireland, talked us through her tips and talents on maximising your look with the latest Bobbi products. I just loved how she called the brand Bobbi! The latest Greige collection was the feature; a curated range of neutral grey and beige hues, with a stunning eye Greige Collection palette as the centrepiece and the Intense Pigment Liner to add intensity, coming in a compact rather than a stick. This comes in three shades of plum, midnight blue or forest green, each tailored to maximise different eye colours. It's so interesting to watch a demo and see the tips performed live in action. My favourite was 'If in doubt, sparkle it out!', meaning if your matte shades aren't blending out quite how you would like, add a touch of shimmer shadow and you'll soon be blended to perfection.


Most certainly a fabulous day! I then headed home for a dreaded driving lesson, where I ended up driving through town during this manic day, and that certainly was not fun. Still, it is an ultimate Saturday when it's filled with shopping, beauty and style!

A Slice of Heaven: The Moseley Haven, Birmingham

This year had been a turning point in my focus on well-being, motivation and self-nurture. As a single, independent person I have a lot of 'me' time, but that also means I'm the only one responsible for looking after myself. When my to-do list gets clogged up with every single little thing I've been putting off or have yet to even start exploring, and the two free days of the week feel like they flutter by in a flash of errands and commitments, you do stop to ask if you are truly content, and secondly, if you are thriving. I usually skip the content part and push myself to achieve and set goals that never seem to end. This year I've been spending time reviewing and thinking mindfully about how I can be more 'in the present' and feel energised by my current situation and experiences, rather than propelling myself to a future dream that is never achieved because there's always a next step after that. Time to stop and smell the roses.

As much of a multi-taker that I am, I also know that sole, calm experiences are something I used to have a lot of, and now find hard to factor in. Whether it was browsing charity shops across the city for hours as a teenager hunting vintage clothing, to reading all of the books in the Young Adult section of the library, to writing blog posts about every little detail of my life in 2007, I used to glide into my 'me' time with ease. Now I fill it with errands, tax returns, courses, budgeting, or just reminding myself of what I should be doing, when in fact the world will not stop if none of those things are not done immediately. I slowly but surely turned over a new leaf and made a conscious effort to read, write and be open to 'treating' myself. After all, what are we working for if it's not to enrich ourselves, enabling us to create better lives for us and those around us?

I received a wonderful email from Alison Knowles, an experienced beauty therapist who recently opened a new beauty spa in local Moseley Village; The Moseley Haven. I'm so keen to explore the business' we have around us. I have grown up frequenting the green grocer and visiting the markets in town with my mom, and today I like to dabble in any local offerings, from dance classes to beauty to cocktails. There's nothing like experiencing a local independent, and Alison mentioned that her spa uses Eve Taylor Aromatherapy products, who is the creator of Dermalogica oils and the found of professional aromatherapy, with an OBE to prove it. I've had many facials, which I'll come onto next, and the products are a key player in not only the results, of course, but the facial experience itself. Eve Taylor is only available to professionals so this was a unique chance to try the skincare in all its glory. 


On the bright Saturday morning I strolled along to Alison's beautiful house; if you know Birmingham then you'll certainly know that Moseley Village is so picturesque and serene. The spa is the most ambient, inviting space, and feels especially cosy but also refreshing and tranquil - a hard balance to reach. When going to an in-store or hectic spa, it does feel like an extravagant affair that I never know if I am 'grown up' enough for and also doesn't always feel private, but The Moseley Haven is so inviting and the sort of place you want to take your time to enjoy and appreciate - and never want to leave! After the warmest welcome from Alison, I felt right at home and settled into the heavenly, heated bed ready for the Skin Quenching Facial. The setting felt quite literally like you had stepped into an oasis of calm and it's easy to drift away. 

I started this blog almost nine years ago because when I feel passionate about something, I want to tell all of my family and friends about it. Facials and spa treatments are the most wonderful experience as there is nothing like the care someone gives your skin at that moment, the music, the excitement to see the results, and not to mention the amazing massages and treatments. If you have a good facial experience, this will include hand, neck and shoulder massages too! I urge everyone I know to have treatments alongside their usual beauty routines as I can't stress enough how luxurious they are and so much more of a buzz than buying a fast-fashion dress. The feeling is priceless!


Each stage of the facial blended into one another yet each felt like a different chapter for the skin, and you feel more and more harmonious as the hour goes on. The Skin Quenching facial starts with preparing with the Balancing Cleanser, with Lavender and Jasmine, Sage, Linden Blossom, Rosewood and Soya to balance and harmonise the skin; then an all-important Enzyme Peel. Papain and Bromelain enzymes gently break down the surface skin cells and loosen comedones, aka blemishes, and Bentonite clay absorbs excess oils. Then there is an incredible lymphatic draining massage for the face and decolette using a treatment oil with Rosewood, which helps promote cellular stimulation, Jasmine for balancing the skin, and plant oils to protect moisture and natural oil levels. Facials are so important if you take your skincare seriously as there is just no way you could work this sort of magic on your face yourself. It's not just the products but the actual motions on your skin that really make the ingredients work and literally breathing life into your face contours. Yes - did you know a facial actually creates sculpted cheekbones and lifts the eyes, it's not just your skin's appearance that is affected.

The Soothing Masque gave the healing powers of Green Tea, and then Alison's favourite Oxygen Response Serum concluded the hour, which aids Oxygenation of the cells, leading to skin renewal and removal of those toxins. The treatment finishes with the Refining Eye Gel containing Algae and Seaweed extracts for firmness with reduced puffiness, and Balancing Moisturising Lotion with the star Vitamin E. Not only do you have a sublime experience, but you are also set to leave with skin that is perfectly primed and ready to take on the elements and continue working across your day, complete with SPF. Absolute bliss! My skin felt like a flawless canvas, glowing with hydration.


The Moseley Haven also offers popular gel manicure and pedicures using China Glaze, lashes, waxing and massage treatments.

"Regular facials are so important to keep your skin balanced and looking at its best, using the right products will help with your skin tone and complexion, and the facial draining massage helps keep the skin firm and helps release any toxins which can lead to unwanted puffiness, dullness and keep the skin glowing and radiant.
Using products at home with a good skin routine is very important but the reason facials are great is because you get the facial massage which has so many benefits to the skin and really boosts your circulation.
Having regular treatments is also very beneficial to your well-being and gives you time to really relax and de-stress." - Alison Knowles
I also loved how the Eve Taylor products were based on natural essential oils; a reason the range was chosen as the signature for Alison; also making for a serene and natural experience. Paraben and fragrance free, and not tested on animals, it's practically saintly. Alison uses the peel or mask to exfoliate once a week herself and then applies either the Soothing masque to hydrate the skin or the Purifying masque to combat any impurities. Words of professionals are gospel to me! Why do I never use masks?!
The dream would be to have facials every few weeks and then continue on every month or so when you have settled into a great skincare routine. I can't say I ever have a constant run of feeling my skin is especially pampered, as once you have felt your skin after a facial you realise it's never been so clear or so hydrated. I'll definitely be visiting the spa again to influence not only my skin but also my well-being and self-appreciation - the prices are extremely reasonable too.
And Alison's top beauty tips? Always remove makeup before going to bed, always use a sunscreen on top of your daily moisturiser and don’t forget to include your neck and décolleté when you do your skincare routine.

The Bodyguard @ Hippodrome Theatre | Birmingham Life


Oh wow! I had the pleasure of attending the press event of The Bodyguard last week and it was just the most amazing evening. Accompanied by my nan of course, we were delighted to head to the Hippodrome and get one of the hottest tickets in town. I attend concerts, festival and shows all the time and try to go on as many holidays as I can because life is all about having something to look forward to and experience, and this West End show is the absolute shiny star of Birmingham right now. 

Romantic, thrilling and often startling, the love story of Rachel Marron and her secret agent-turned-bodyguard Frank Farmer is intertwined with the lurking stalker, lit in dark corners of the stage at the most unexpected moments. Rachel's sister peppers the show with Whitney Houston's most heartbreakingly beautiful songs, but Alexandra Burke absolutely brings the show to the highest standard with an incredible performance that manages to stand out above the drama of the storyline and breathes such passion into the show. I often find stage shows can be static in parts and once a scene is set, the parameters of the action is set, whereas the production of The Bodyguard is a fluid movement across different acts with intertwining sets, solos and montages that meant you never took your eyes off the stage and the interval ice cream time came in  flash! And that is without mentioning the amazing range of Whitney Houston's greatest hits and how incredible Alexandra Burke's voice and performances are. The audience went from transfixed to a standing (and then dancing) ovation of which I've never seen before,

It's also worth noting my nan has limited mobility and our aisle side seats were roomy and comfortable, and the Hippodrome has no issue with those pesky theatre drafts. My nan was a bit nervous about sitting for a long time but she had no issues and had an absolute blast - and has told all of her friends! Thank you to Hippodrome for a fabulous evening.


Edit: New dates have been added for September!

#BullringBloggers & Beauty

On Thursday I had the great pleasure of attending a fabulous beauty event at Bullring. I’m very lucky to have Bullring as my local shopping centre as it has every store you could want on a large scale, and it keeps getting better and better. A Victoria’s Secret store is opening soon and I can’t wait to have those fruity sprays in my life!!

After work, I hot-footed to the management suite where we met an array of beauty brands, labels and treats from the best of the centre. I tucked into a few French Fancies and caught up with divine beauty personal shopper Rose, before bumping into faves Winnie and Gem! We had a natter before a few presentations on upcoming launches. 

The one that caught my eye was the new Curl Friends range from Umberto Gianninis as I am of course a curly girl! They have revamped their curl range with a sleek new look and I was treated to a hair refresh with the new Nourishing Oil, which is right up my street. My hair literally sucks up any sort of serum or spray so this is perfect! You can’t go overboard this this so I could spray it liberally. I go to the Umberto salon in Selfridges so am very happy to give my solid attention to any of their ranges (my stylist is Yogi!).

 We also lusted after the new Urban Decay Perversion mascara and I regaled my patchy blusher woes to the Giorgio Armani team who introduced me to their liquid blush. I'll report on the results!

In fact we went away with an incredible goody bag, and it was personalised! Therefore it is my job to test out these treats and tell you which are worth hard earned pennies, with special excitement for the Michael Van Clarke 3”’ More Inches Magic Oil and Kiehls samples set - perfect to take to V Festival this weekend. *group prayer for sunshine*

When I said personalised, I literally meant it! We were all wondering quite what this meant, and we each found a super sweet Tatty Devine necklace with our blog names! Adorable! I'm going to hang mine on my makeup stand so remind me of my blogging love. Thank you Bullring!

Bubble Tea Meets

Hi guys! I've had a few days away from this blawg which consisted of going to a blogger meet up, completing my maid of honour duties at a hen do and finalising my plans to move house! If we chat in chronological order, a few weeks ago I tweeted that I was looking for some new blogs to read and spoke to Cara of super sweet blog Glacial Glow, where I spotted she was organising a Birmingham blogger meet up! After working so many blogger events and barely going to any recently for just myself and my own blog, I was really excited to meet some like-minded bloggers and new people. 

On Saturday I stood at New Street Station and did think the effortlessly cool girl nearby in a great coat with popping red lips may be a blogger, but I was not keen on asking a stranger if they were attending a blogger meet up if they actually weren't and thought I was crazy! It turns out it really was delightful Jess of Jessthetics and we linked up when Cara came in her enchanting doll-like, porcelain beauty, and we know how much I love girly vibes! We had a hunt for the second WHSmith in the station to bump into Elizabeth of new beauty blog MungleVille - go over and show some welcome love! Elizabeth seems the perfect candidate as a beauty blogger because she can size-up and recommend cosmetics perfectly both online and in person, and has the pretty face I certainly would like to see adorned with products I may like to purchase! We were expecting a few more people but as with many meet ups, people may be nervous or a bit flaky, so we went off to Café Chino in Arcadian for some bubble tea and cake!

Yum! If I am around town I will definitely stop by for a bubble tea, and I think I prefer mine warm without the pearls. We were all set with tea and cake and my talented friend Leah came; a blogger I've known for many years now and always a source for inspiration, wisdom and awesome charity shop finds, including some Luella jeans that looked beyond fantastic.

As we nibbled, we chatted blogging, feminism, various highlights and crazies of the Midlands, and it really is a hive of inspiring thoughts when chatting with ladies with something to share with the world. I do think surrounding yourself with different and diverse people who have goals and dreams really does enhance your own, and I'm sure we will meet again soon!

Sadly I had to rush off soon after our lunch as it was the hen night of my oldest and dear friend, where I will be a bridesmaid in November! I wish I had taken a photo of the treats I had prepared, which included some flash cards of funny questions about her, tiaras, glowsticks, wine jelly, a 'Guess the Groom' game with various celeb grooms in envelopes, a pass the parcel, VIP passes, and a selection of dares that possibly weren't appropriate for her grandma to pick out! I really enjoyed the DIY aspect as I was browsing Pinterest all week, so I will certainly look into more fun and inexpensive wedding ideas to make her day even more special.

I stayed at my nan's house but I thought I would post these photos anyway as I am loving my new Motel Rocks Folly Top in Sun, Moon, Stars, my favourite print in a while! I did actually order the Kimmy Skirt also to wear as a matching two piece but it's really slimming for some reason, maybe due to the dark colour and large print, and I didn't really look like myself! The shape of the top is really chic though, with a high neckline and strappy open back. It will be my go-to top for weekends under a few layers! I also made a quick OOTD video to see the outfit in more detail. Loving blogging and vlogging again!