Hoar Cross Hall Spa Escape

Whenever anyone asks me for a spa recommendation I without hesitation say ‘Hoar Cross Hall‘. There’s something about the place that induces immediate relaxation.

It’s just far enough out of the city to feel like I’m escaping into the countryside, without being so far that it feels like a slog to get there. The Jacobean building gives the historian in me serious happies, the food is brilliant (and plentiful), and that’s before you even get on to the actual spa facilities.

Back in April I was just entering what I’ll now refer to as ‘stressed-out-reclusedom’ – we were in the final days of working out whether we were EVER going to exchange on our new flat (and being hit with surprise bills left right and centre. Awesome.), the new web project I was working on was seriously kicking off, suddenly we only had 4 months to the wedding, and it felt like the flat purchase was taking up all of our planning time. I was, in short, a wreck.

Fortunately my wonderful mother had spied my on-the-edge-ness and treated me to a trip to Hoar Cross for my birthday. We have a bit of a tradition of visiting together every year, but due to various factors had missed 2015 out. The solution? Go for twice as long in 2016! (Gotta love my mother’s logic – it’s the same logic that led to visiting Disneyland being the only possible solution to our flight being moved by 24 hours on the way back from Hawaii.) Thank goodness she was so generous – looking back I think this little ‘relaxation re-set’ was one of the few things that got me through!

2015 being a ‘fallow spa year’ also meant that this was the first time that we’d encountered the newly refurbished facilities. I got a glimpse of some of these back when I visited the opening of the Matthew Curtis salon at Hoar Cross in July last year, but it was brilliant to see how they’ve really taken the place to another level of luxury.

Check out my vlog from our spa escape to see just what I’m talking about. There are scones!

A whole lotta life stuff…

Dan & Em cake topper

thanks to our friend Chris for the awesome pic.

Oh hello there, remember me?

All been a bit quiet here recently, eh?

If you follow me on instagram (about the only form of social media I’ve managed to keep up with recently!) then you’ll probably have gathered that I’ve been a bit busy over the last few months.

In short, allllll the life stuff happened. Just since the last blog post we bought our FIRST HOME  (yay! still can’t quite believe it!) together (yes, after 2 years of looking, of course we managed to find somewhere and complete on it 3 months before our wedding!), I went through a WHOLE lot of tests for just over a couple of weeks at the hospital for my dermatitis issues that I’ve been blogging about for the last 2 years or so (again, 2 years build up, all comes to fruition 2 months before the wedding! But, I now have a diagnosis, which is excellent news!), I took on a LARGE new web content contract, and then, 4 weeks ago, after all the build up, WE GOT MARRIED! (Woohoo!) [Read more…]

March Favourites

It’s that time again – all the things I’ve been loving over the past month. It’s my March favourites!

In this video…
Beauty
Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum – http://bit.ly/2230u5F
Ole Henriksen Fab Five – http://bit.ly/1MMiSxP
Stila One Step Colour Correct – http://bit.ly/25EV8lC
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Eyeliner – http://bit.ly/20Vepfm

Playing
Xenoblade Chronicles X – http://bit.ly/1N4lbY5

Watching
Love on Netflix – http://nflx.it/1UBOPvv

Friday Five : Honeymoon Swimwear

friday five swimwear for spring house of fraser

Navy Spots – Boden, Watermelon – South Beach, White – Modcloth, Red – Topshop, Blue Spots – House of Fraser

 

Yes, I know, it’s February. It’s blooming freezing outside, and I’m showing you swimwear.  However, during these colder months one of the queries I get from clients every year is ‘I’m off for some Winter sun, where can I get swimwear?!’ – luckily this is much less of an issue now than it used to be, when you would have to turn to expensive ‘cruise line’ collections to get out of season holiday wear. I’m not stealing away for a holiday, but I am at that most delicious part of the wedding planning process where we are looking at booking our honeymoon.  [Read more…]

Stila Makeover with Sascha Jackson

stila selfridges birmingham 2

Stila – a brand that I associate with my university days. I remember falling a little in love with their lipgloss (and gloss was BIG in those days!) – there was something about the clicky pen style packaging with its own brush applicator that felt particularly chic and grown up, at a time when I was desperately trying to prove I was an independent, grown up adult woman!

And then, I wasn’t really sure what happened, but Stila disappeared off my radar.

So, when they contacted me a couple of weeks ago to see if I would like a one on one session with one of their lead makeup artists, Sascha Jackson, at a pop up in Selfridges Birmingham, I jumped at the chance. I sat down and chatted all things Stila with the lovely Sascha, whilst she demonstrated one of their key looks on my face. [Read more…]

Valentines Gift Shopping at Bullring

Valentines Day is fast approaching, and I’m sure I can’t be the only one who isn’t completely prepared! Thankfully, the lovely folks at the Bullring in Birmingham invited me along to spend the afternoon shopping for V-day gifts with Dan, to see what they had to offer.

I think we’re both fairly easy to please when it comes to romantic gifts – basically, I’m happy with anything colourful or sparkly, and the more cheesily romantic the better! After all, you’re talking to the girl who insists on wearing red or pink every year when we go out, just to make sure I’m on theme! For Dan, as I’m sure is the case with many men, the way to his heart is undoubtedly through his stomach, and I knew that there would be plenty of places within the Bullring where I’d be able to find him something tasty! [Read more…]

Friday Five – Valentines 2016 with Vivien of Holloway

Long time followers of this blog will know that I love to dream up a super cutesy outfit around Valentines Day – you can see my previous efforts here – so when Vivien of Holloway contacted me to create a wishlist from their gorgeous, retro offerings, the theme I would pick seemed obvious!

This Valentines day we’re keeping things fairly low key as we’re now knee-deep in wedding planning, but I do still love taking time out to celebrate (especially as V-day is pretty well timed for the end of Dan’s busiest time of the year with work, when we don’t get to spend a lot of time together) so we’ll be heading out to a local restaurant that we’ve been meaning to try for a while. Here’s what I’d love to be wearing…

 

As soon as I spotted this heart print dress, I knew the outfit had to be based around it! I adore the full skirt, and cap sleeves that make it not too revealing/chilly for this time of year, but you could always pop a little red or white cardigan over it. I also think the lip shaped clutch adds some extra fun to the outfit, and could happily be used throughout the year (red features fairly heavily in my wardrobe no matter the season), and what else should a girl wear in her hair on this most romantic of days other than roses?! (and these will cost a darn site less than a bouquet, and last a lot longer!) I’d finish off the outfit with some sparkly heart earrings (which are an absolute bargain!) and, of course, a super floofy (can’t think of a better word!) petticoat for extra romantic twirling potential. You know, in case there’s some impromptu romantic dancing involved!!!

Those of you heading out this valentines day, do you have your outfit planned? Are you going super cutesy and v-day themed, or maybe something more sultry and chic? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure – Sponsored Post.

Clad in Plaid & Mary Janes from CLOGGS

hush puppies cloggs lindybop 3

Mary Janes are a pretty staple kind of shoe for me – I adore the cute ankle strap, and they invariably come with a blocky heel that makes them smart yet comfortable when I’m in the studio or styling at events (honestly, I never thought I’d become a ‘comfortable shoes’ type of person, but it’s amazing what being on your feet all day will do!) In my recent great annual wardrobe clear out I had to bin my much-loved tan Mary Janes, a sad, sad day but they really were past saving.  The fact that they were so worn out tells a tale as to how much they were worn, and also the giant, gaping hole they left in my shoe wardrobe!

So, I was incredibly pleased when CLOGGS contacted me to ask if I’d like to review a pair of Hush Puppies, and I spotted this gorgeous, tan, T-bar pair.

hush puppies cloggs lindybop

 

It was obviously fate! I loved the double strap detail, and the mix of croc and plain leathers. Of course, being Hush Puppies I also knew that they would be super comfortable. Off went my order, and the postman swiftly delivered! In person I was just as pleased. The detailing was as lovely as it looked on the site, and also the heels had an unusual round / cylinder shape that I hadn’t noticed but think is fab! All the comfort of a block heel, but with a little more interest. And on the comfort theme, the insoles are lined with a bouncy cushion, meaning that I’ve worn these all day in the studio whilst styling with no achy feet issues. An added benefit at this time of year is some grip on the soles. I hate being that woman sliding about in the Winter in unsuitable shoes!

hush puppies cloggs lindybop 4
I teamed my new Hush Puppies with a recent (ish!) purchase from Lindybop. I’d heard lots of good things about this online purveyor of retro fashion, and when I spotted this plaid dress in their sale at the end of last year I thought it would be a good excuse to give them a try! Teamed with red it made the perfect Christmas Day dress, but I’m now enjoying picking out the browns and blues from the tartan fabric as I take it through into Spring. For the, quite frankly ridiculous, purchase price of £16.99 (and they still have lots of sizes in stock!) I’m really pleased with the quality – it even came with the matching belt. I’ll definitely be making more purchases in the future.

hush puppies cloggs lindybop 2

Blue cardigan – Monsoon (old,), tartan dress & belt – Lindybop, tan t bar mary janes – c/o Hush Puppies at CLOGGS, red tights – Dorothy Perkins (old), tan clutch – Topshop (old)

 

 

 

hush puppies cloggs lindybop 5

 

Disclosure – Shoes PR sample provided for consideration of review.

Critics Choice Awards 2016 Red Carpet Roundup

Another week, another red carpet, it must be awards season! Next up is the Critics Choice Awards, which showed us some lovely looks on their powder blue carpet (hey, it was a nice change from red!). The Critics Choice Awards Red Carpet can be a little more subdued and laid back after the glamour of the Golden Globes, but there were still some colourful treats to be seen!

Again, of course, I’m most interested in the colour trends, and there were many, many black gowns that didn’t make it onto my favourites list as none of them seemed quite special enough to me. The one exception was Alice Vikander’s beaded Mary Katrantzou gown, which was a bit of a risky / edgy one, but a risk that really paid off. The black gown with dark beading looked amazing with Alice’s deep, strong colouring. [Read more…]