Monday, 22 August 2016

Hotel Chocolat Cafe Liverpool

When I think of Hotel Chocolat I think of luxurious chocolate treats and gifts, until I visited Liverpool earlier in the year, I had no idea there were cafes too!

The cafes are a new concept serving cocoa based drinks and food - a chocoholics heaven.
Hotel Chocolat Cafes have developed a range of drinks by roasting cocoa beans and all of the coffees on the menu are made solely by using chocolate, coffee beans and skimmed milk, there's no syrups, flavourings or additives. Hotel Chocolate live by their mantra; more cocoa, less sugar.

The food choices are mainly snack based, including various flavours of chocolate brownies, nut bars and cake and there's even cocoa flavoured beef jerky!
They have also introduced ice cream to the menu since I visited which is infused with St Lucian Theobroma cocoa nibs, which looks and sounds incredible.

The interior of the cafe is not too dissimilar to most coffee shops you will visit, everything was clean and modern with a cocoa bean box decorated counter area. There is also a Hotel Chocolat shop on the side to tempt you on the way out for a treat to take home. 

The cafe we visited was located in Liverpool One, really central and easy to find. 
Elodie and I both ordered the Classic Hot Chocolate which is made with shaved chocolate and skimmed milk with the special chocolate cream and chocolate sprinkles on top. They were so indulgent and felt like such a treat... Undoubtedly the best hot chocolates we have ever tasted (and we're quite the connoisseurs!)

Ever since visiting I have wanted to return for another drink, they were THAT good! If you're in the North East like me, the closest location to us is York... And trust me, it's definitely worth the trip.

What's your favourite Hotel Chocolat treat?
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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Five Things To Know Before Owning A Cat

I'm not just a crazy cat lady, I'm a crazy animal lady... Big or small, I'll find a way to love it.
Right now we only have one pet; our 1 year old cat called Binky, but over the years I've had seven ponies, two dogs, three cats, an abundance of goldfish, two rabbits, a couple of budgies, a wood finch and even an injured pigeon living in my bathroom for a few weeks!

Animals are funny things, if you're not really a pet person you probably won't understand, but they all have their own personalities, character traits and habits. They become part of the family and you can love them just as much (or sometimes more!) than the humans in your life. 
I love having a cat, they're a great companion and cuddle buddy and can become your best friend. If you're thinking about bringing a furry friend into your home, here are five things I wish someone had told me before I made the decision...

You're no longer the boss: Forget those Sunday morning sleep ins, when your cat decides it's time to get up, it's time to get up. There's no compromise or discussion here, wether it takes a couple of nuzzles to your nose, a cheeky paw on the cheek or a full on attack on your feet through the covers, when cat says wake up, it's time to wake up! 

Primark bags are the best present ever: Cats love to play, especially when they're young and the pet shops and supermarkets are well stocked with various balls, fluffy mice, feathers on string and anything else you can imagine to entertain your whiskered friend. These treats usually go down really well, and will be played with until they're torn apart, however I have never known a cat be more excited by anything than a Primark bag (or any paper bag for that matter). This is when a cats imagination really comes to life, they will most likely climb in it and pretend it's their den, this goes of the biggest of bags or even the smallest ones - your cat will make itself fit! They also enjoy scratching the bags, chewing the bags, pouncing on the bags... honestly they will be entertained for hours.

Your furniture will be ruined: A slightly/very negative point to owning a cat is that your beautiful furniture will most likely be ruined in some way or another. Carpets will be pulled up, tables and mantle pieces will be scratched and the arms of your chairs and sofa will be shredded so much that you may want to cry. My wooden bed frame and brand new Laura Ashley wallpaper have also suffered at the hands (or claws) of Little Miss Binky.

You must learn to share your food: Cats can be fussy eaters, once they've had a taste of that luxury cat food with chunks of real fish or meaty jelly, they won't want to go back to the supermarkets own... They won't care how many different flavours you buy in the hope of saving some money (the go through a lot of food), once they've had the good stuff, there's no going back.
This also applies to your food... remember the day you shared that last bite of your steak or put the last few scraps of your chippy tea into the cat bowl? Well your cat certainly does, and every time they smell that familiar food, they won't let you forget it! You think a dog can beg? Wait until your cat is practically sitting on your plate helping herself to your dinner!

They can be very clever or very silly: There doesn't seem to be an in-between with cats, they're either sitting across the room from you, giving you the evil eye and making you feel guilty for something that you don't know you've done or they're climbing the walls, balancing on the top of the door frame or pouncing on your head from the top of the wardrobe when you sleep. Needless to say, life with a cat is eventful.

Please take anything I have said with a pinch of salt, of course all animals are different. Before you commit to a pet, remember they need lots of love, care and attention and they cost a lot of money throughout the year.
Despite all of this, having a pet can really complete your family and I wouldn't change Binky for the world!
(*In collaboration with Whiskas)
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(Some posts may contain PR samples, please read my disclaimer for more info)

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Ideal World Beauty Department

Ideal World is a UK shopping channel which hasn't really been on my radar when it comes to shopping for beauty products, until now.

Not only do they stock award winning products from some of the world's biggest and best brands, they also stock exclusive brands and products ranging through from skincare to makeup and tanning products.
To spread the world throughout the blogosphere, Ideal World have created a bloggers box of products which they have sent to selected bloggers to try out and share their views on. When my box arrived I was very intrigued to try everything, as all of the products and the brands were completely new to me... and who doesn't like trying out some new beauty products?!

The majority of items in the box were from Elizabeth Grant; a skincare brand created in London in 1958 by a makeup artist who had her skin damaged by a bomb blast in the Second World War.
After learning about Torricelumn; a combination of natural sea vitamins, nutrients and minerals, Elizabeth added this to her skincare regime and her skin began to improve, as did her confidence. It wasn't long before her skincare line was created.
I received the Perfect Balance Day Cream and Aromatherapy Face Oil, the Wonder Effect Glycolic Mask and the Supreme Essence of Torricelumn; all of which battle the five signs of ageing, prevent dryness and help to brighten the complexion.
I haven't been using these for long enough to give a educated opinion yet, but first impressions are all great... The packaging is mostly really luxurious and glamorous and I especially like the Perfect Balance products as they're very gentle and hydrating on my skin.

A product which made me laugh is Steve Whatley's Zhuzh! A tan accelerator created by shopping channel king Steve Whatley, who I remember watching on tv when I was a child, and even then I admired his tan!
I have never used a tan accelerator before, but I actually really like the idea of this as it could mean that my skin will tan faster and that I won't have to spend as much time in the sun, which for someone like me who burns easily and doesn't really enjoy the heat, can only be a good thing.
Although I haven't been in the sun anywhere and haven't had the chance to try this out yet, I have sprayed some on my arm to see what it's like and I'm glad to report that it's really moisturising and sinks into the skin pretty quickly without leaving the skin feeling sticky at all.
I'm hoping to see a little bit of sun soon so that I can give this a try.

Lastly in the box was a set of six lip glosses from a brand called Ready To Wear. The set includes some beautiful shades ranging from a nearly nude peach and a pale shimmery pink, to a really vibrant red and a deep plum.
I usually prefer lipstick to lip gloss but I've been reaching for the red and the pale brown/nude shade of these glosses and I'm really impressed, the pigmentation is incredible. The applicators are small, dense brushes which allow me to be quite precise with application, and the formulas are glossy but not at all gloopy or sticky on the lips.
I love discovering new beauty brands, and if everything else is as good as the glosses, I'll definitely be trying more from Ready To Wear!

So what do you think... Did you know about Ideal World's choice of beauty brands before?
If you want to have a look for yourself you can find them on Sky channel 654, Freeview 22, Virgin 747 and Freesat 812 or on the Ideal World website
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(Some posts may contain PR samples, please read my disclaimer for more info)

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