Monday, 27 June 2016

Bodean's BBQ Covent Garden London

While in London for IMATS, Ray had given me the responsibility of finding places to eat during our time in the big smoke and when I discovered Bodean's BBQ in Covent Garden, I knew it was the place for us to go.

Described as a smokehouse and bbq restaurant serving ribs, burgers, steaks and more meaty goodness it sounded like everything we love in one place, I think it's any meat eaters idea of heaven! There's a wonderful aroma, which hits you as soon as you walk in, very similar to that Summery, meaty bbq smell, and a definite signal that there is good food being served.
The interior is decorated in the style of an old American saloon with wooden planked walls decorated with hanging skulls and retro beer trays, booth seating and a big bar serving a multitude of drinks. I was boring and opted for a pint of coke! 
Every table comes with it's own crate of sauces, steak knives and forks and even a roll of kitchen towel... You know that it means juicy, meaty business is about to happen when you see this on your table!

As we had been spending the majority of the weekend eating already, we didn't want to be too greedy, so opted to share the nacho chips starter; a basket of crisp nachos with what Ray described as 'really, really good' salsa on the side.
The basket was the perfect size to share between the two of us and nibble on until our mains came. I don't like salsa so I took it upon myself to try the sauces on the table as dips for mine; I would really recommend the Smoked Hickory BBQ sauce, it was tangy and smokey with a bit of a kick - delicious!
When it came to the main course I wasn't quite as shy! I couldn't resist ordering the Bodean's Famous Burnt Ends and Pulled Pork Combo; slow smoked chunks of beef brisket, served wet or dry (I opted for wet) with a light bbq sauce, served with pieces of pulled pork and chips, this really was a feast!
I did add a bit more sauce and some salt from the table to my food to add some more flavour as it was slightly bland, but I loved the Hickory sauce so much it was soon delicious. I would rather it came to the table like this than too saucy or smokey though, it's just down to personal taste.
The portion size was huge, and I sadly didn't manage to eat it all (as hard as I tried!)
Ray ordered the pulled pork deli sandwich, which also came with chips and coleslaw. 
Service was great from start to finish, staff were really attentive and made sure that our drinks were refilled and our plates were cleared despite the restaurant being incredibly busy. 

We left feeling very well fed and talking about what we're going to order next time we visit... I just wish I lived closer so that I could return sooner! When I do go back I'm going to make sure to save space for one of the American style desserts... The table next to us ordered the chocolate fudge brownie and the apple cobbler and they looked incredible!

You can find Bodean's restaurants all around London - Let me know if you give it a try.
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(Some posts may contain PR samples, please read my disclaimer for more info)

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Bloggers Made Me Buy It

Reading blogs can be an expensive pastime, it's so easy to be talked into a purchase by reading someone else say such great things about a product. Before you know it you can have a list as long as your arm of things you 'need' to buy.

Over the years I have been introduced to so many products and brands by my favourite bloggers, some good, some not so good. I do consciously try not to give in to blogger hype too easily, as sometimes sponsored content can be a little biased. Instead I try to do some research into products I am considering buying before parting with my money... If I bought everything bloggers told me to, I'd probably be homeless right now!

I've decided to share a few products bloggers made me buy in today's post... Let me know in the comments if you'd like to see this turned into a little series, as there are plenty more I can talk about.
The first product to come to mind that I have been swayed to buy by another blogger (Lily, I'm looking at you!) is Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess perfume. I'm not a person who buys lots of perfumes, I know what I like and I stick to those, but as soon as I heard of this being described as 'holiday in a bottle' and the mentions of coconut and vanilla scents, I was sold. 
This is re-released each Spring, and although the bottle changes slightly, the scent pretty much stays the same. If you haven't tried this before, I urge you to go and have a spritz, it's just beautiful.

Another massively influenced purchase is the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer, which pretty much every blogger raves about. This is the bargain concealer which ticks all of the boxes, it covers blemishes, hides dark circles, blends wonderfully... it's really no wonder why this is such a must have in the blogosphere! Without the backing of bloggers, I'm fairly sure this would go quite unnoticed, but the power of bloggers have given this little gem the acknowledgement it deserves. I have strayed from this in the past and I've tried other brands, but I always find myself coming back to it, it's easily as good as any high end concealer I've tried.
I first heard about Philip Kingsley Elasticizer when it appeared in a Glossybox which lots of bloggers were sent, and it intrigued me straight away! This is quite a pricey product, which is what put me off it for so long, but I'm now so glad I have it, it's worth every penny.
I apply this to my hair before shampooing as a pre-conditioning treatment and it makes so much difference to my hair. When I use this my hair is left shinier, easier to style and control and it just feels stronger and healthier. I don't use this excessively as I can't afford to repurchase too often, but once a week seems to work just about right for me - I highly recommend it!

When it comes to skincare, I'm always a little nervous about trying new things, but after reading so many amazing reviews about the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, I had to try it for myself. This is a serum which you apply on a morning and/or evening which helps to prevent breakouts and calm existing ones as well as reducing redness and blackheads... You can see why I had to give this a try!
Although it's not a miracle worker, I do think it works, especially when it comes to calming breakouts. It is one of those products which needs continuous use to see any benefits, but I've repurchased this twice now and will continue to do so.
The most recent blogger inspired purchase of mine is the L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Clay Shampoo, which I snapped up while on offer in Asda. This sounded like the perfect shampoo for me as it's formulated to remove excess oil from the roots, while moisturising and leaving the ends of your hair silky smooth. This contains three different clays, which work together to purify, hydrate and  revitalise, but although I like this, I don't really think it's something to shout about. Maybe it's because I haven't used the entire range (there's a pre-shampoo mask and a conditioner too), I think I would try it again when it's on offer, and pick up the other products too.

When I first saw Zoe wearing Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick '107' I immediately wanted it, and since buying this, I've added a few more from the Kate Moss range to my collection. These lipsticks are so moisturising (even the matte shades) and really long lasting on the lips. 107 is my favourite Autumn/Winter berry shade, which I will without doubt repurchase when this one runs out.
Sleek Blush 'Rose Gold' is one of the cult blogger products, something which was so sought after at one time that it literally sold out everywhere. This is known as the dupe to Nars Orgasm, and let me tell you, it's pretty much identical. A few years ago, every blogger and YouTuber was talking about this and after about two years of searching (yes it was that popular), I finally got my hands on it.
I still use this now, and love it as much as I did then... It's a beautiful peachy pink with slight rose gold shimmer running through it, a perfect blush for Summer.

Finally, another skincare product which I eventually gave in to; Alpha H Liquid Gold. It was Anna who convinced me to finally buy this, and I'm so glad I listened to her advice! I was a little worried this was going to be really abrasive, but it's completely fine when used correctly. The glycolic acid treatment is so easy to use, simply wipe over the skin after cleansing every second or third night and let it get to work. It smooths and firms the skin as well as refining and evening out the skin tone. I have no doubt this is worth it's hefty price tag, as it works wonders and lasts for such a long time.

Let me know if you enjoyed this post and want to see more, or if you'd like in depth reviews on any of the mentioned products!
What products have bloggers made you buy?
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(Some posts may contain PR samples, please read my disclaimer for more info)

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Look Fantastic Beauty Box June 2016

It's Look Fantastic beauty box time again, and this months box, the #LFJetsetter edition is themed around holidays, Summer and the products you can use to beautify yourself and protect your skin throughout the hotter months.

Much like last month's box, the products arrived at my door beautifully packaged in another pretty box, I love the ombre yellow and orange skyline against the white background on this one, I just knew it was holiday themed as soon as I saw it.

At first I was a little worried that this box wouldn't be of much use to me as unfortunately I'm not jetting away anywhere tropical this year, I was imagining it being full of holiday essentials and the kind of things I'd be emptying straight into my case to take away with me. However the products aren't necessarily for holiday use, they're quite versatile and mixed so I'll be able to make full use of them myself while I'm enjoying(?) the UK weather!
If you are going abroad, you will still be able to use plenty of the products while you're away and mini products are ideal for travelling lightly! Plus who wouldn't want to get stuck into the new issue of Elle magazine while sunbathing by the pool?! (Still loving that this is included in the box!)

As I've said before I love discovering new products and brands through beauty box subscriptions, it's so exciting opening them and seeing what's inside, and even more exciting when you fall in love with a product you may never have tried otherwise.
This box contains all new products to me, and some completely new brands however I don't think it's as good of a box as last month, I think it's mainly because there isn't really any large full sized products this time and the fact that there aren't any makeup products is a shame, however I'm hoping that once I've give all of the products a try I will be disagreeing with myself!

The most exciting thing for me in this box are the Mr Blanc Tooth Whitening Strips, which I have been wanting to try for so long now. I've seen endless photos on their Instagram of people showing off their amazing pearly whites and been in awe - I dream of having a bright white smile, so I'm hoping these will live up to my expectations and help me out! I'll definitely be reporting back on these.
I'm also really happy to receive the Cowshed Cow Pat Moisturising Hand Cream as I go through hand creams like noone else I know and Cowshed are a brand I have been interested in for quite a while now. I like that they're a British born brand and the fact that they use natural plant based ingredients in their products. The chamomile, grapefruit and cinnamon ingredients in this hand cream give the most amazing scent - this has gone straight into my handbag.

Another brand I'm familiar with is Caudalie, so I'm really looking forward to trying out the Premier Cru Eye Cream. I always think of Caudalie as a bit of a luxury so I'm hoping that the promises of fighting puffiness, ridding the skin of dark circles and illuminating the skin are fulfilled.
The Naobay Oxygenating Cream Moisturiser and Korres Basil Lemon Shower Gel sound lovely too... I'm all for extra hydration which the rosehip and sweet almond oil in the moisturiser should help with and having tried Korres shower gels before I know I'm going to love this, the lemon scent is incredible.

The only makeup product in the box this month is the Spa Magik Beauty Balm, which I wouldn't have been interested in had it not been in the box, however upon swatching I realised that it adapts to my skin tone quite well when blended out, and it smells SO good, which is always a bonus! I'll probably give this a go on a no makeup day and see how I get on with it.
Finally the Tan Organic Self Tan Oil is something else I wouldn't normally have looked at, however I do like the idea of the oil formula rather than a cream for tanning, it's great for hydration. I will try this out at some point and get back to you with my thoughts.

All in all, although this didn't initially seem like the most exciting box, there are some really good products inside. It would cost around £70 to buy all of these products individually, so paying £11.25 per box for a 12 month subscription is a real bargain! You can subscribe to the box and still get your hands on older boxes on the Look Fantastic website.  
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(Some posts may contain PR samples, please read my disclaimer for more info)

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