Monday, 27 April 2015

REVIEW: Every Hotels Picadilly London!

Finding a good quality hotel in a good location in London that isn't ridiculously overpriced and full of unnecessary charges is HARD, trust me, I'm talking from hours of experience trawling the internet for decent deals.  There have been many instances over the last couple of years where I've needed to book a hotel in central, for either work, romantic get aways or the need to have somewhere near by to stay after a tipsy night out.

Anyway, I think I now may have found my go-to - Every Hotels.  I was recently invited to stay shortly after they opened their doors and wanted to share my thoughts on it!

The first thing I want to mention is the location - it could not be more perfect for those wanting to explore the city more.  It's located right on the corner of Leicester Square and a 2 min walk from Piccadilly station.  My room overlooked on to M&M world and Trocadero but was still really quiet from our 5th floor room.

Secondly - free wifi and FREE MINI BAR!!  This was what I was most excited about to be honest - I love hotel mini-bars but always steer clear because they charge you a bomb, but the contents of these are completely free.  For those that prefer their caffeine in hot form, there is also a Nepresso machine with complimentary coffee pods which Andrew (who joined me on the visit) took full advantage of.

Thirdly - the bed. Oh my, the bed.  It was the biggest bed I have ever slept in in my life.  If Andrew and I laid out on opposite sides of the bed, we could reach out and not even touch each other which meant I could starfish happily all night (see proof here!).

Other perks: The hotel also has a small gym (with complimentary branded earphones and water), a bar and restaurant which serves pizza, burgers and the like (which was okay - not incredible, I'd prefer to pop out to one of the restaurants in Soho) but the hot buffet breakfast on the other hand was delicious and I had seconds of sausages, hash browns, eggs and beans!

You can check out the hotel's website for more details and booking here!  I really enjoyed my stay overall and would thoroughly recommend to those who are looking for an affordable hotel with benefits in central!

What's your go to London hotel?

xxx
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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Summer Festival Skincare Must Haves!

Easter is over, blossom is falling and the weather is heating up which means one thing - festival season is well under way!  My parents have been taking me to festivals from a tiny age (I went to Reading when I was like 8!) and so sitting in the sun, listening to good music with great company is always a summer highlight of mine!

I'm hoping to head to LoveBox again this year after attending with Andrew in 2013 - it was our second date and where our romance really blossomed so we want to re-enact the date (with pizza, rose, dancing and swooning galore) to mark our 2 year anniversary!

Anyway, beauty at festivals can be difficult, especially if you're camping - loo's are a nightmare (take spare tissues), your only hope for good hair is dry shampoo and removing makeup is a chore and so I wanted to put together some beauty tips for those of you who are heading to one this summer!
My top summer festival beauty tips are:

1) SPF SPF SPF!
I swear by SPF all year round, and get even more obsessed during the summer months, and wear nothing lower than SPF 50 on my face (paranoid about wrinkles).  Being out in the sun all day is so damaging so please take some sun protection.

2) Remove your makeup properly!
Yes, wipes are convenient and great for freshening up, but they should not be used to remove makeup, no matter how tired & tipsy you are!  If you're camping, keep a bottle of water & flannel with you for lathering up some face wash for a really quick but thorough clean!

3) Keep refreshed.  
We all know how dehydration plays havoc with our skin so keep hydrated and drink lots of water.  Your skin will thank you for it!

4) Have fun!  
If you can't wear neon body paint and glitter at festivals, when can you?  Just remember to remove it all properly afterwards ;)

Luckily for us beauty obsessives, Kiehls teamed up with DJ Zara Martin to put together a festival Survival Kit which includes all the must haves to keep your skin healthy throughout the summer party months - from festivals, to beaching it up, to exploring new cities, this pack has everything your skin needs!

It includes:
Kiehl's Micro-Blur Skin Perfector - Minimal makeup is perfect for festivals to save you touching up throughout the day, but this product is fantastic with or without makeup.  It acts as a primer underneath your foundation to make it last longer, but also looks beautiful on bare skin,  blurring it for a smooth, airbrushed look.
Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 - This is my second tube of this now - I adore it and used it religiously last summer.  It's a beautiful moisturiser with an incredible high factor spf so you can party all day and not worry about burning up.
Kiehl's Skin Rescuer - If your skin is suffering this is for you - a stress-minimizing moisturiser which combats the appearance of the visible signs of stress on the skin such as fatigued, dull-looking skin and uneven skin tone.  A travel must have!
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser - A fantastic face wash for a really thorough cleanse!
Kiehl's Creme De Corps - My go-to body lotion of choice in the perfect size for nights away.
Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate - My skin LOVES this stuff and just the tiniest drop really moisturizes and does the world of good.  Rub in a few drops before bedtime and say hello to glowing skin the next morning.

I will be taking this little kit with me on holiday this year too!  All of the bottles are under 100ml which also makes it perfect for travelling.  The kit retails for £95 - pricey but at least you know your skin is in good hands!  Link here!

Are you going to any festivals this summer?  What are your beauty tips?

xx

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Thursday, 16 April 2015

FASHION: Resting Up.

Sorry for the absence on the blog over the past week or so, things have been very up and down!  I'll explain more after these wonderful outfit pictures taken by my partner in crime Andrew.

So if you follow me over on Twitter you will have seen that last week I had pre-cancerous cells removed from my cervix after having multiple abnormal smear and biopsy results - a nasty ordeal which ended in myself AND Andrew fainting!  Luckily I also had my amazing mum there to hold my hand (I decided to have local anaesthetic instead of general which I now regret, which meant I was awake for the experience).  I'm thinking of filming a video all about my experience as I would have LOVED to have heard someone else talk about it openly whilst I was researching pre-treatment.

Anyway,  I've been resting up since and having to deal with the aftermath which is cramps and lots of bleeding (sorry for the TMI) and even worse is I can't have a bath, go swimming or get intimate for 4-6 weeks until it's all healed.  I should get results back in the next month to see if the treatment worked - please keep your fingers crossed for me!

I've had no excuse (other than that) for not blogging, I've just been preferring to wallow in self pity whilst eating chocolate and watching crappy films instead, but I'm back now with lots of time to write content.

I guess I should talk about the outfit in this post too, huh?  I've been loving monochrome at the moment, I just feel really effortlessly cool in black & white and have been trying to stop the urge to chuck out all colour from my wardrobe!  The T-shirt (link) is from H&M - I love deep v-necks on men so I wanted one for my cleavage and I.  The ripped jeans (link) are from New Look and I adore them - they fit my petite frame perfectly!  My jacket is from NEXT, shoes also from New Look but both last season and finally my brand new bag (link) which I'm obsessed with!  It was in the Debenhams sale and I couldn't resist - I do love a bag with lots of compartments.  I'll feature it properly in a video soon!

Anyway, I hope you all had a lovely Easter and I'll be back soon!

Katie xxx
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Friday, 3 April 2015

BAKING: Easter Nest Cake!

Since moving to my own place one thing I've really enjoyed doing in my spare time is baking.  I've never baked much before as I'm notorious for being a messy pup and didn't want to stress my parents out too much by leaving a trail of sugar and icing around whilst experimenting at their home, but now I have my own home to look after (and a hungry boyfriend to feed) I'm unstoppable in the kitchen!

My latest creation was this Easter Nest cake and it came out so well I wanted to show it off!  It's a double layer Victoria sponge (but with chocolate buttercream in the middle instead of jam) covered in chocolate melted shredded wheat, topped with mini eggs and little fluffy chicks!

So I originally first heard about this recipe on the Mum's Eye View YouTube channel where Anna SaconneJoly baked it with her adorable daughter Emelia so I followed the recipe she used on the Betty Crocker website to recreate it myself at home.

This was ridiculously easy to do as the recipe suggests using cake mix and pre-made icing to do all the work for you, my only problem is that I only had one cake tin and so I had to bake one layer after another and wait until both had cooled before joining together with the Chocolate Fudge Buttercream Icing.  The best part was mixing together mushed up shredded wheat with melted chocolate and patting it all over the cake to create the nest effect - it was a little fiddly but a lot of fun (and the leftovers were delicious).

You can see the full recipe here and be sure to check out Anna's video too because it's adorable!

I hope you all have a lovely Easter this sunday with your family!

What's your favourite thing to bake at home?

xxx
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