15   84
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This post may look like it is sponsored by Soap & Glory, but sadly it isn’t (if you are reading this Soap & Glory, I’m always available for future collaborations!). This post is in fact a little sneak peak of the things I bought with my £25 Boots Voucher which I got for my birthday. At the moment, Soap & Glory products are 3 for 2 in Boots, so go grab yourself a bargain. If you saw my last post, you will know I was lucky enough to have the most relaxing Birthday Spa Break in the New Forest. This week was back to reality, so I thought why not just create your own spa at home, so that’s exactly what I did.  I brought the New Forest Spa to my bathroom, just with slightly less horses.

Soap & Glory Glad Hair Day Ultra Shine Daily Super Shampoo (250ml) – No build-up formula with raspberry fruit vinegar, panthenol, glycerin and phytantriol to gloss, smooth, repair and strengthen. For all hair types including highlighted and heat processed. One of things I love about Soap & Glory products is the smell. This shampoo smells so fruity and summery and leaves my hair feeling soft, smooth and super clean. There is also a matching Glad Hair Day Conditioner which I have only just discovered so will definitely be adding this to my home spa routine in the future.   

Soap And Glory Pulp-Friction Foaming Fruity Body Scrub (250ml) – Get fresher, smoother and softer skin with fig powder, pumice, peppermint oil, lemonade tree liquid, orange waterjuice™ and vitaminballs™ (A,C,E). Scented with our new Fruitigo™ fragrance. Whilst the bath was running, I used the foamy fruity body scrub. I found that I didn’t need much of this as it lathers up really nicely. I expected exfoliating to be uncomfortable but this cleanses gently and you can feel it working it’s magic. I felt extra clean before I even got into the bath! 

Soap And Glory The Daily Soothe Bath Float Foamy & Super Soothing (300ml) A new super-soothing, pre-bedtime foamy tub float is seductively scented, intensely relaxing, delightfully deluxe with luxurious long-lasting suds and sleep-inducing, muscle-relaxing and aphrodisiacal actives. This was the product I was most looking forward to using in my home spa and it did not disappoint. All you need is a small scoop into the bath and it smells amazing and really foams up well. It has a lovely sweet and calming aroma – I just put on my chill out tunes, zoned out and had the most relaxing floaty experience. 

Soap And Glory Smoothie Star Deep Moisture Body Milk (500ml) – Loaded with skin-softening cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil and Soap & Glory’s WATERLOCK™ moisture-trapping matrix, it also conditions thanks to its delicious (but in this case, definitely not edible) oat, yoghurt & honey formula. After my chilled out bath, it was time to use the body milk. The smell is gorgeous and makes me feel like I’ve been rolling around in cake mix. It absorbs well and the lovely smell lasts for ages, leaving skin feeling smooth and nourished. 

Soap And Glory Hand Food Hand Cream (50ml)With moisturising shea butter, macadamia oil and marshmallow, it’s non-greasy and non-sticky. I love this hand cream so much, I’ve been using it for a while now and it was especially handy (pun intended) for travelling (See: In-Flight Essentials Bag). Like everything Soap & Glory, it has such a nice fragrance, it’s light and absorbs instantly. When you have left your home spa, it’s the perfect size to pop into your handbag and top up throughout the day to keep your skin fresh and hydrated.

Do you like the Soap & Glory range? What products would you include in your home spa? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

This post contains affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission for each purchase at no extra cost to you.

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Last week for my birthday, Shaun arranged for us both to go on a mini spa break. Exciting! Shaun did a very good job of keeping this a secret – all I knew was we were heading towards the New Forest and I’d need my bikini. The New Forest is only about 30-40 minutes on the train from where we live so it wasn’t long before the surprise was revealed. We were staying in the Balmer Lawn Hotel & Spa in Brockenhurst. Shaun chose very well (apparently he did a lot of internet spa research at work) and before long we had checked in to this super luxurious hotel and were ready to begin the relaxation.

Our room was very posh (Shaun pushed the birthday boat out and went for a superior room). We had tea, coffee and biscuits, a bath, fluffy robes and a super comfy bed. We were right on the top floor so enjoyed a very scenic view overlooking the famous Balmer Lawn complete with horses.

We had access to the leisure facilities – a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and sauna so decided to go out for some lunch before coming back later on for an evening swim.

The Balmer Lawn is a short 5-10 minute walk from the village of Brockenhurst in the New Forest. Before we went for our walk we stopped for some obligatory Balmer Lawn photographs:

On the way into the village, the first place we happened to stumble across was The Huntsman. We were on the search for some good ol’ pub food and this place fitted the criteria. Being pretty hungry by now we didn’t waste much time making a decision and went straight on in.

I’d say it was a pretty good decision…

I ordered a roasted vegetable sandwich, with green pesto, rocket, on white rustic baguette served with crisps and coleslaw with added skinny fries. Shaun went for a similar but meaty version. This was actually from their Light Bites menu so we were pleasantly surprised with the amount of food we got. What a delicious feast!

After lunch we went on a little wander around the local area stopping to pet this chap who was happily having his lunch.

It’s not often you walk down the road and see a horse, unless of course you are in the New Forest.

In the village, we decided it was time for something sweet so found ourselves being enticed into The Buttery, a cosy little tearoom with a tempting selection of handmade cakes. I’m a big fan of rocky road anyway, but if you want something a little special, you gotta try this rocky road with creme egg, it was pretty amazing.

More horse watching.

Ha ha, this post looks like all we do is stare at horses and eat food! We did actually have a swim and chilled in the room before we ate back at the hotel restaurant for the evening meal. This is the sea trout, citrus sabayon, heritage vegetables and sea herb salad. We both agreed that this is probably the poshest meal we have ever eaten. It may not look a lot, but I gotta say it was delicious and very filling indeed.

The next day was my birthday and what a glorious sunny day it was! After breakfast we went for another swim and a walk around the hotel grounds. The hotel backs onto miles and miles of stunning open fields so we went to say hello to our new horsey friends again.

As an extra birthday treat, Shaun booked us in for a couples massage before we went home. I know, I know, how lucky am I. We had a 55 minute full body aromatherapy massage which was incredibly relaxing. We left the hotel feeling super chilled out and extremely happy that we had such a lovely birthday break.

I gotta say, every single member of staff at the Balmer Lawn hotel and spa were so friendly and helpful. We felt instantly relaxed the minute we checked in and knew we were in good hands (hah, massage pun there). The hotel is superbly situated in the beautiful New Forest and close by the the train station and village. It really was a perfect stay and a fabulous way to celebrate my birthday. A big thank you to Shaun and the Balmer Lawn! <3

Have you been to the New Forest? Which hotels and spas would you recommend? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

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Having recently come home from a trip to Italy (and eating way too much pizza and ice cream), I was thinking about all the different foods I have tried on various other holidays. So far, I have now been 18 Amazing Places (+ Italy) and experienced a range of different menus from all around the world. Today, I thought I would share with you some of my foodie highlights from a few different places I’ve visited, simply because food and travel are two of my most favourite things. So if you are feeling keen to plan your next holiday and sample some of the local dishes, check out destination2.co.uk for tons of holiday inspiration.

Greece

I absolutely love everything about Greece, especially their food. One of my favourite dishes is the gyros (literally meaning “turn”) which is meat wrapped in a pita with tomato, onion, tzatziki sauce often served with fries. It’s pretty much the Greek version of a kebab. If I am feeling slightly healthier, the Greek Salad is always a delicious option with feta, olives, tomato, peppers, onions, lettuce and olive oil normally served with pita and tzatziki sauce. Oh yeah, and you can’t mention Greek food without including Greek Tapas. This is a selection of little nibbles served on a platter and comes with all sorts such as hummus, stuffed vine leaves, falafel, pita, spinach pie, meatballs… okay, this is making me super hungry. What is your favourite dish to eat in Greece?

Mexico

The other day, I went to Chiquito for my birthday which reminded me how tasty Mexican really food is. I went for the classic fajitas but it was a tough choice between that and the burritos and the enchiladas. When I went on holiday to Mexico a few years ago, it seemed the dish of chicken and rice was a firm favorite. That and tacos! There is so much choice out there, whether you are a fan of spicy food or something a little plainer, Mexican dishes are so delicious and healthy too. You also don’t need to look very far to find fresh exotic fruit either, there is everything from the familiar mango and kiwi to more the more obscure things like mamey and tuna fruit. Do you like Mexican dishes, which one is your favourite?

Thailand

Thailand for me, was my most adventurous foodie holiday. There was no sign of a burger and chips out there. If you like Thai food, then you will love Thailand as it’s even tastier and even cheaper than at home. I still stand by my word that I ate the best ever Pad Thai whilst in Asia (this still hasn’t been beaten yet). Food in Thailand is absolutely everywhere and you can grab something quick and tasty whilst on the move. Popular dishes such as Guay Teow (noodle soup), Poh Pia Tod (spring rolls) and Kai Jeow (omelette and rice) can be found at roadside vendors, in the markets or in restaurants and it’s all so so cheap. A portion of noodles is around 40 baht (90p), how crazy! One of my favourite discoveries was the Banana Roti, a sweet pancake treat which can be ordered with added chocolate. Yum! What is your favourite Thai food?

Italy

A travel food blog post is not complete without mentioning Italy. This is my most recent adventure and I certainly had my fair share of pizza, spaghetti, brushetta. It’s not all pizza and pasta though, fish and seafood is a firm favourite on the Italian menu too. If you are a fan of fish, you will not be disappointed as you can get everything from salmon, anchovies, scallops, sea bream, sea bass, tuna and much more! Finally, of course when in Italy you need to sample a tub or five of their famous galeto. There are so many different delicious flavours to pick from – I tried Fragola (strawberry), Cioccolato (chocolate), Malaga (rum and raisin) and something that looked like cookies and cream. Amazing!

I hope you enjoyed my holiday foodie highlights. Writing this post has made me so hungry! Which country has the best food, in your opinion? What food would you like to try? I’d love to hear your thoughts and recommendations.

*This is a sponsored post which means I received a product/payment in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own. 

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I have been following Ellis on Twitter for a while now, and have always been impressed by her cute, bright and vibrant illustrations. So when I saw a tweet about her Kickstarter campaign, I was keen to show my support. Ellis and her husband James run Pastel Elixir, a shop which sells all of Ellis’ illustrations on bookmarks, mugs, cards, badges, prints, postcards, stickers and more! The aim of the Kickstarter was to print tote bags to raise awareness for animal rights & ethical shopping. The campaign was a huge success and four different designs (animal, coffee, avocado and unicorn) were printed – I loved them all but in the end the pink unicorn bag won for me.

Everything about Pastel Elixir is bright, colourful and fun – even the packaging is pretty!

Wow, I received such a huge bundle of awesome goodies! How cool is all this! I got two prints, a postcard, a greeting card, bookmark, 4 stickers, a badge and a some sweeties, and of course the fantastic unicorn bag itself. Amazing!

Hot chocolate postcard: this is soo adorable and very true indeed. For more awesome Pastel Elixir prints and postcards click here.

‘You Are Magical’ unicorn card: such a cute little card. Check out all the other fantastic greeting cards available here.

I love this super cute unicorn bookmark and llama sticker. Ellis has so many fun sticker packs such as the Eff It collection which is simply brilliant.

Be A Rainbow quote print: a colourful motivational print, what is not to love about this. I have framed this and put it on my desk and it looks fantastic.

The whole bundle of goodies is definitely awesome sauce. I loved it all! Thank you so much Ellis and James and so glad your Kickstarter campaign was a huge success! To keep up with Pastel Elixir check out their Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Shop / Etsy and support their business.

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