Saturday, 26 July 2014

Moddershall Oaks Spa Escape and My First Blog Giveaway!

Hello all! So this is going to be a long but very exciting post with the chance to win some amazing Moddershall Oaks spa and Elemis products! Keep reading for your chance to win :)

The first time I went to Moddershall Oaks was the summer between my second and third year of uni. It had been an action-packed year with lots of changes both in my academic and personal life and my mum and I felt like we needed a couple of days to be selfishly indulgent and escape from daily life. After having a quick Google on short breaks in the UK we came across Moddershall Oaks - a country spa retreat in the heart of the Staffordshire countryside. And the rest is history. I've been twice with my mum as well as recommended it to my friends who have also visited for a girly weekend. This time, however, I took the boyf along for the ride.

We were recommended the Spa Escape package which Moddershall Oaks describes as follows:
Arrive at 3pm for a tour of the spa facilities and check into your suite, enjoy a two course evening meal served in our lakeside restaurant, stay overnight in a 5* suite with cooked breakfast, relax with a 25 minute back, neck & shoulder massage or 25 minute Elemis Customised facial and take full advantage of our spa facilities with complimentary use of robes & towels as long as you can.

From the moment we arrived, the staff were extremely friendly and attentive, making sure that our stay went as smoothly as possible. On arrival we were shown to our room, given a tour of the facilities and handed our itineraries which told us what time our table was booked in the restaurant and what time our massages were booked in for the following day. It was great to know that that was all we had to think about for the next 24 hours.

The first afternoon we spent in the indoor spa which includes a swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, reflexology pool, experience shower and steam room. As well as all these wonderfully relaxing water features, we were particularly fond of the stone heated loungers on the poolside and definitely fell asleep a couple of times.




Next was dinner. I opted for the Catch of the Day (which was hake) and the 'Oops I dropped the Strawberry Sunday' which included macerated and fresh strawberry jelly, strawberry mousse, crushed meringue, lemon cheesecake quenelle and Madagascan vanilla ice cream. Needless to say, it was pretty damn good.



 After a good night's sleep and a hearty cooked breakfast, we had a walk around the grounds. MO owns a large area of land around the spa site which boasts a beautiful lake and a short woodland walk. While my mother would've insisted on the walk, we spent more time looking at the fish by the lake.


While waiting eagerly for our massages, we tried out the outdoor spa. This only opened in mid-June so it was my first experience of it too. The setting was absolutely gorgeous; a wooden cabin complete with jet pool and sauna overlooking endless green fields. It was at this point that we decided we didn't want to leave but were all too aware that the working world was approaching the next day *shudder*.


(We weren't actually there at dusk but I felt a bit uncomfortable about taking pictures of other people trying to relax so MO kindly provided the photo for me!)

After our massages (which used Elemis oils and were amazingly relaxing), we spent our last few hours chilling out and reading in the dedicated relaxation room. You can stay in your robes and slippers and cuddle up in the huge sofas and have drinks and deli food brought to you. It truly was the perfect end to the most blissful 24 hours. We felt refreshed, happy and ready for anything (which was a good job because it turned out that I'd booked us on the wrong train journey back so we had to re-buy our tickets - may bad).


AND NOW IT'S COMPETITION TIME!

As a massive fan of Moddershall Oaks having been three times, I was super excited when they agreed to help me set up a giveaway to give my readers the chance to win some spa goodies.

It's a lovely selection of gifts including an Elemis spa gift set, a Moddershall Oaks teddy and rose massage candle and a SpaRitual nail polish (worth approx £55 altogether). All you need to do to enter is follow myself and MO on Twitter and tweet a ready-made message about the giveaway. And that's it I promise! 

Please also note that this giveaway is open to UK RESIDENTS ONLY


The giveaway opens on 27 June 2014 at 12am and closes on 10 August 2014 at 12am. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Moddershall Oaks did give me a media rate for my latest visit. However, I have been a full-paying guest twice previously for a spa break so please have absolute confidence that this review is 100% truthful and I would recommend this spa to anyone!

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or on facebook.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Feeling dressy

Hello and Happy Friday!

Just thought I'd share with you a couple of dresses I've bought recently for very little money. This is one of the many things I love about summer - while in winter you end up splashing out hundreds on warm coats and boots, in summer you can put an outfit together for under £30 reasonably easily.


The first dress I bought is this little orange number from Florence & Fred at Tesco. My housemates and I were at a huge store buying homeware for our new flat when I came across this. I thought at £18 it would be rude not to. F&F is a funny one - I wouldn't go into Tesco just to buy clothes as some of the range is quite tacky. However, often when you're not looking, you come across a great find. I absolutely love the colour of this dress and the material is so light and cool. The one downside is, as with most dresses that button all the way down at the front, if you sit it any sort of slouching position, you end up flashing a cheeky bit of tummy as the material between the buttons is pulled tighter. This encourages good posture I guess?!

The second dress I've bought recently is this one from H&M which I'm super pleased with at £5 in the sale. I've had so many compliments on it and it's really versatile - it can be worn for a day in the park or dressed up with a blazer and pumps for a smart-casual office feel. However this dress also has a downside (although this one is avoidable). It is a little bit see through and therefore nude underwear is a must. But hey, at £5, there had to be something a tiny bit inconvenient, didn't there?

Have you picked up any summer bargains recently or can you recommend any other stores where you can pick up a dress for under £20? Do let me know in the comments.

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or on facebook.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm

Hello all!

I have internet - wahey! As I mentioned in my last post, I've just moved house in London and have been waiting patiently for the lovely guys at Sky to set up our broadband. I'm using this opportunity at my mum's house to upload a short blog post and hope that, by the time I get back to the big smoke, we will be connected to the worldwide web.

Anyway, internet rant aside, I thought I'd share with you a hair product that I am absolutely loving at the moment - Percy & Reed's Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm.


I actually got this sample free with a magazine a couple of months ago (maybe Cosmo or Company?) and, although a tube is pricey at £18, I would definitely consider buying one when this sample runs out. You only need the tiniest bit on towel-dried hair and it saves me so much time when styling my hair after washing. I have quite straight hair if I rough dry it but I in the past I have always turned to straighteners to tame my hair and make it extra sleek. However, this almost does same job meaning I can often get away with just rough drying my hair after applying the Wonder Balm and it is silky smooth and good to go.

And below is a lovely selfie of me after having done just that - no straighteners needed, my hair has just been rough dried in this picture and made super silky and smooth thanks to this product.


Have you tried any hair products which have dramatically saved you time? Please do let me know - I am a fan of anything that allows me to enjoy 10 minutes extra in bed in the morning!

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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Review: Mattifying/ Oil-Free Moisturisers

Hello all!

Firstly, apologies for my lack of blogging of late. I've been extremely busy - since I last posted I've found a new place to live and found someone to take my current room. Now getting super excited about the move!

But all that aside, today's blog post is a review of three purse-friendly mattifying/ oil-free moisturisers. As a teen I had quite oily skin (super sexy) and, although my skin is much better now, I would still describe it as combination. Therefore, I tend to opt for light moisturisers that absorb quickly and banish shine as well as nourish my skin.


First up is Boots Skin Clear Oil-Free Mattifying Lotion (£2.99). I bought this one month when I was budgeting on everything. It definitely works on the mattifying side - apply this in the morning before make up and it banishes shine all day. However, it is not particularly moisturising, meaning I often found my skin still felt quite dry and tight after applying. Also, if you apply make up straight away and the moisturiser has not properly absorbed, it starts flaking in your hands. This is probably the best option if you have super oily skin but is not nourishing enough for those (like myself) who have combination skin. 2/5

Second is Garnier's Moisture Match Mattifying Fresh Cream (£5.99 in Boots). I really like this product - I bought it when it was half price in Sainsbury's and was very happy with it. It smells fresh, is extremely light and absorbs quickly. 4/5

Third is Neutrogena's Visibly Clear Oil-Free Moisturiser (£4.99 in Boots). This is my favourite moisturiser of the moment and makes up part of my everyday skincare routine (which definitely sounds more complicated than it is). I think it smells great and my friends have also said this when they've stayed over and raided my things. It's really moisturising but also super light and you only need the tiniest bit for your whole face, meaning it lasts longer than the Garnier one. I would 100% recommend this to anyone with combination skin. 5/5

Have you tried any affordable moisturisers recently that really compliment your skin type? Do let me know in the comments!

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Monday, 9 June 2014

Light Summer Make Up

Hello!

The weather has been hotting up this week (finally!) so I thought I'd share a light summer make up look with you. This look is perfect for summer days as it looks really fresh and natural. I'm going to let the pictures do the talking this time because I feel like if I wrote out a full tutorial for this look, it would get pretty dull. However, I've listed all the products I've used and tried to include little hints in brackets though in case you want to try this out for yourself.

Enjoy and please excuse this really awkward selfie!


Face 


From left to right:
Boots bronzing brush (I use this to apply bronzer below the cheekbones)
MAC 187SH Duo Fibre brush (I use this to apply blusher to the apples of my cheeks)
MAC 116 Blush brush (I use this to set my make up with Rimmel Stay Matte)
Benefit High Beam highlighter
Rimmel Natural Bronzer in 022 Sun Bronze
Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder in 001 Transparent
Benefit Dallas blusher
No 7 Stay Perfect foundation in Warm Beige

Eyes


From left to right:
Benefit Fake Up concealer in Medium
Rimmel Rocking Curves mascara by Kate in 004 Jet Black (I picked this up for £1 in the Boots clearance sale and wouldn't recommend it. It smudges and clumps really easily. Unfortunately I'm trying to save money so am stuck with it for another month)
Body Shop Shimmer Cubes Palette 06 (I applied this on my eyelids, blending the colours from light to dark from the nose outwards. I also applied the darkest shade underneath my eyes)
Body Shop eyeshadow brush (I used this to blend all four colours across my eyelid)
Body Shop slanted eyeshadow brush (I used this to get greater precision when applying eyeshadow underneath my eye)
Maxfactor eyebrow pencil in 001 Ebony (My favourite eyebrow pencil!)

Lips


From left to right:
No 7 Moisture Drench lipstick in 55 Pink Crush
MAC Cremesheen lipstick in Creme Cup (as this shade is a tiny bit too light for me, I blend with the No 7 lipstick for the perfect pastel shade)

Let me know if you have tried any of these products or if you have any top tips for summer make up!

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Saturday, 31 May 2014

MAC Dark Angel Nail Lacquer



Hello!

Just a short post today to show you my current favourite nail polish. My lovely boyfriend bought me MAC Nail Lacquer in Dark Angel and the colour is absolutely beautiful. The purple is dark yet vibrant and I have had so many compliments when I've been wearing it. Although it's not your typical summer shade, it's so eye-catching that it can be pulled off all year round.

I thought I'd also share with you one of my staple nail products - the Barbara Daly Goodbye Yellow polish (which you can buy at Tesco). When I bought this, I originally thought it was a base coat designed to prevent dark nail polish from staining your nails. Turns out it's actually a clear coat with a very faint purple hue that is designed to correct nails that are already yellow. Either way, it's awesome. I use it as a base coat and a top coat with MAC Dark Angel as it gives an extra shiny finish. I've had this bottle for two years and it still applies really smoothly without 'glooping' which, for £6 a bottle, is pretty darn good.

Which nail colours are you loving at the moment? Do let me know!

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Thursday, 29 May 2014

Body Shop Blue Corn Face Mask

Last bank holiday weekend I went to a wedding. It was an absolutely beautiful ceremony as well as an incredible weekend with plenty of cheer and late nights. As a result of all this fun, by the time I went back to work on Tuesday, my skin was not particularly glowing. One of my friends, Kayleigh, is squatting at my house until her contract on her new house begins so I demanded that she try out my new face mask with me and pose for lots of pictures. She didn't take much persuading.

The face mask we used is one that I got for my birthday (one of many gifts that you can check out in this blog post). It's the Body Shop Blue Corn 3-In-1 Deep Cleansing Mask which claims to "cleanse, exfoliate and purify with Community Trade Blue Corn powder", and looks like this:


As you can see, it's a fairly thick mud mask that has exfoliating particles in it. You apply it on to damp skin and it goes on super easily and smoothly.

Cue face mask selfie:


It did "tingle" (verging on stinging) for the first five minutes but then settled down and we felt more comfortable. We kept it on for the maximum 15 minutes as recommended.

It was fairly difficult to take off (exfoliating as we washed), but manageable despite some contact lens drama from Kayleigh. When we had removed the last traces, however, our skin felt AMAZING. We both kept stroking our faces and telling each other how smooth it felt!

And here we are post face-mask. If I say so myself, our skin is positively glowing. I would 100% recommend this face mask as a good all-rounder for anyone who is looking to perk up and purify their skin with some quick-fix pampering.



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