I am the sort of person who has one pair of boots that they love and quite frankly wear out before looking to find a new pair. Finding the perfect pair of boots can be quite a task with things such as style, fit and comfort being high on my list of priorities. I usually choose footwear which is as comfortable as possible in order to avoid blisters or, as I have wide feet, painful pinching. When JD Williams got in touch offering me the chance to review one of their range of ankle boots for an honest review, I was delighted to get involved as my previous pair were looking a bit worn out!
JD Williams believes that a woman should never have to compromise on style or fit and offer a range of fashionable shoes in wide fittings so that you don’t have to compromise on style to get a comfortable shoe. I took some time browsing the options on the website before settling on the Cushion Walk touch and close boots, which come in an extra wide EEE Fit, in black. I went for these boots because of their description of being comfortable to wear as well as their attractive metal leaf trim detail.
The Cushion Walk touch and close boots are a lightweight ankle boot which are certainly comfortable with ample space for the wider foot so there is no rubbing on toes or blisters on heels. They come with a simple easy on and off touch-close fastening thanks to the use of hidden Velcro (which offers more flexibility of sizing), and I really love the silver leaf decoration which I think gives the boots something a little bit special.
The boots have a 2inch contoured heel which gives me some extra height but does not make me worry about twisting my ankle! I have found the boots to comfortable all day which is handy when you are on the go or on your feet for long period of times. I think they look very smart and can easily be adapted to your personal style, coming in 4 colours: black, brown, navy and wine. In the warmer months pair with colourful socks and trendy culottes and in winter they can easily be worn with jeans or pair with smart trousers for a comfortable work look.
I have been enjoying wearing the Cushion Walk touch and close boots from JD Williams and look forward to wearing them out, as I do, over the next months. I award them 4 out of 5 stars.
We are big coffee drinks in my house. In fact when my husband and I moved into our current home my parents bought us a fancy Delonghi coffee maker so that there would always be a good hot drink for them when they visit! ThreeSixty˚ recently sent us some of their Peru Lima Province ground coffee which we were happy to offer an honest review on.
Peru is reported to be the 9th biggest coffee producer in the world being home to around 200,000 farms. The country produces moderately fruity or floral coffee with a clean, sweet and acidic taste. The Peru Lima Province ground coffee from ThreeSixty˚ is described as a smooth coffee with hints of honey and passion fruit with a slightly nutty aftertaste which has been designed for the more discerning coffee lover.
ThreeSixty˚ aim to satisfy coffee lovers who are seeking adventure, a premium fully traceable product, interesting origins, seasonality and importantly… something different. Their range of drum-roasted coffees gathers the tastiest beans from around the world. They pride themselves on providing solid providence for their products in fact each packet comes with coordinates which when entered into Google Earth shows the coffee’s country of origin.
On opening the neat packaging of the Peru Lima Province ground coffee you are hit with a bold aroma which gets the taste buds tingling. It’s quick and simple to make a cup up as the coffee comes in the ground format so simply add the desired amount into your cafetiere along with hot water and let it brew for a few minutes before slowly pushing down the plunger and pouring.
My husband has reported to me that this is a medium bodied coffee with a deep roasted flavour which is mildly acidic, offset by nuttiness which takes the edge off. It certainly has a bold flavour and makes a pleasant cup which is perfect as an after meal digestif. We award the ThreeSixty˚Peru Lima Province ground coffee 4 out of 5 stars.
If you were to ask me what my favourite building is in London I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you that it is the Battersea Power Station. You might look at me a bit funny having expected to hear a more sexy answer like the Shard or the Lloyds building, but to me the Battersea Power Station has a haunting industrial beauty with an interesting history which I really love.
Designed by one of Britain’s best 20th century architects the coal-fired Battersea Power Station, made up of two individual power stations constructed to form of a single building, is one of London’s most loved and recognisable landmarks built over 70 years ago. Dubbed ‘One of the finest sights in London’ by the Observer newspaper it represents a time of grand vision and vigorous industry for our capital.
I am a huge fan of the “the brick cathedral style” in which the station was constructed featuring a symmetrical design with towers built from fantastic red brick. Amazingly it is one of the largest brick buildings in the world and is noted for its original, lavish Art Deco interior fittings and décor. It is a true original and true originals never age.
Although Battersea Power Station ceased working in 1983, over the last 50 years it has become a well known and loved landmark in London and has been allocated a prestigious Grade II listing. The station has stared in popular culture references a number of times including cover art of the 1977 ‘Animals’ album from Pink Floyd, the Beatles’ 1965 film, ‘Help!’ and has appeared numerous times in ‘Doctor Who’.
Since its closure in the 80s the building has remained mainly untouched which has lead to the structure unfortunately falling into disrepair and has been added to English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk Register. The site was also listed on the 2004 World Monuments Watch by the World Monuments Fund.
Luckily Battersea Power Station has been rescued and it is at the heart of a £8 billion redevelopment of the Nine Elms area which combines 20 separate projects covering 560 acres and sees foundations for a new community being laid down including homes, workspaces, shops, restaurants, cafés and cultural venues combine with 18 acres of new public space, all of which sounds so exciting! Learn more about the development of Battersea Power Station here.
I think that this beautiful and majestic building certainly deserves a second chance! Battersea Power Station is certainly my favourite building in London and I am so glad that it will see a regeneration and revitalisation along with this forgotten corner of central London so that I can look up and see this iconic structure for years to come.
My husband has always put in the effort when it comes to his appearance, spending a good amount of time trying different products and gadgets to ensure he is well groomed. Having had a beard for most of his adult life he takes care to make sure that it is neat and tidy and in good condition, he also likes to make sure that his nails and skin are in tip top form. Here is his list of top 5 male grooming must haves.
There are lots of different types of hair clippers on the market and can be selected to best suit your lifestyle; from low maintenance clippers which require very little upkeep but which become blunt faster to higher maintenance models which need a proper clean and oil but keep sharp much longer, some even come with a self sharpening feature! My husband uses his clippers to keep looking trim between hair cuts and also to neaten up the back of his neck. Having tried a number of models Vlad has settled on a set of clippers from Wahl which comes with multiple colour coded guards to clip hair to a specific length. For more information about hair clippers take a look at this guide to hair clippers.
My husband has sported a beard for more than 10 years and over the years he has tried many different razors to keep it looking neat and tidy. Vlad suffers from sensitive skin and has to be careful to use products which offer a smooth shave and do not irritate his skin which can result in a rash. My husband currently uses a range of razors choosing them for specific areas, for example he uses his Cornerstone 5 blade razor to remove hair effectively from wide flate areas and the 3 blade razor from Shave Kit for more precise shaving in tight areas such as under the nose. Vlad preps the skin with The Body Shop shaving Maca Root Shave Cream and a shaving brush and makes sure to use a post-shave balm.
It is important to hydrate and nourish skin after shaving to help recovery and avoid nasty rashes or sore patches. Vlad is a keen user of post shave moisturiser and believes that more men would benefit from using moisturiser in general. There are a large number of products on the market for all price points and everyone will have their own personal preference, but simply using any moisturiser will be of great benefit to any man’s skin. My husband currently uses a combination of three products: Natio Men’s Sensitive Moisturiser, Cornerstone’s sensitive cooling post-shave balm and the Body Shop’s maca root razor relief. If you’re the sort to forget this important step then try and pop a small tub of moisturiser in your bag, car, or with your house keys to remind you to apply before leaving the house or when you are on the go.
Any man with facial hair should invest in a good pair of scissors with precision blades to help keep hair tidy. Vlad uses his scissors to keep his beard trimmed as well as using them to keep his hair from growing over his ears between hair cuts; to do this simply comb through the hair and slowly cut a straight line above the ear to re-neaten. Currently he uses a pair from Murdock London which have been designed to be used for male grooming.
The hands shouldn’t be forgotten in a grooming regime, no-one wants to shake hands with someone with talons! Invest in a good pair of nail clippers which will give you a precise one clip result rather than cheaper versions which will fall apart or require a few attempts to cut a nail. Vlad uses large and small clippers from the Tweezerman combo set to keep both finger and toe nails neat.
I realise this might not be the most elegant of products to review but as a proud owner of a gorgeous chocolate puppy there is one inevitability that I can not avoid: what goes in must come out!
Any responsible dog owner will always have a stash of poop bags on hand when taking their pooch out for a walk so that they are prepared to clean up should the need arise. There are a surprisingly large range of products on offer, when looking for a stock of puppy poo bags there was only one real feature I desired; that they be biodegradable so that they do not harm the environment when disposed of.
I came across Earth Rated, a Canadian company who describe their product as the best dog waste bags around. The Earth Rated bags are extra long (9 x 13 inches), extra strong and totally leak-proof. The bags come in both unscented and scented options, I decided to try the lavender scented biodegradable dog waste bags.
As you might have guessed from the name Earth Rated take their responsibility for looking after the environment seriously. Their products are packaged using recycled content, with even the rolls’ cores are made of recycled paper. The bags fully comply with biodegradability standards in the UK/EU and contain an EPI additive that helps them degrade unlike traditional plastic bags.
I received a neat, attractive package containing 18 rolls of 15 biodegradable lavender-scented bags that fit into most standard-sized leash dispensers. I couldn’t quite believe that this little package contained 270 bags as it was such a small box but it did, with very neat rolls. On opening the box you could really smell the lavender scent which was attractive, although a little artificial.
On first use of the Earth Rated biodegradable scented puppy waste bags I was astounded at their generous size which certainly makes picking up easier and quicker than a shorter bag where you can sometimes get a bit messy! I was surprised at how thin the bags feel in comparison to other waste bags, however I have not torn one yet so they are living up to their extra strong and leak-proof description.
The lavender scent certainly helps distract from other odours and helps make the task less off putting. The only slight drawback from these waste bags is that they do not have handles which makes for slightly more complicated tying of the bags but it’s not a major problem as they tie relatively easily without handles.
The Earth Rated biodegradable scented puppy waste bags have lived up to their description and make the responsibilities of dog ownership easy and simple to deal with. I would certainly recommend these to any dog owners and award them 4 out of 5 stars.
When I was younger I was a bit obsessed with candles and incense. I simply loved filling a room full of delicious fragrances. These days I still enjoy creating lovely aromas in the house so when Organic Aromas got in touch to see if I would like to honestly review their Radiance Diffuser I was happy to agree.
The Organic Aromas Radiance Diffuser uses the Bernoullis principle and silently nebulises essential oils making it great for lifting the mood of a room be it an office, bathroom or kitchen. Unlike other diffusers this one uses no heat or water which helps to preserve the essential oils and has a handy knob to turn to adjust the amount of oil which is used.
The Radiance Diffuser is a stylish and elegant essential oil diffuser which stands at 25cm tall and 15cm wide which makes it a good size for a coffee table or desk and features a colour changing mood light. The stand is made from an elegant hand-made wood base with stunning blown glass reservoir decorated with a unique swirling pattern which really stands out as a piece of artistic craftsmanship.
The diffuser has an excellent atomising performance which requires very little oil in order to saturate the air quickly meaning your oil goes further, handy because oils can be expensive! The diffuser plugs into the mains and has an energy conservation cycle which sees it operate for 2 minutes on and 1 minute off to maintain low consumption, with an automatic shut down after 120 minutes.
The Radiance Diffuser is easy to set up – simply carefully place the glass reservoir into the wooden base, add a few drops of essential oil into the reservoir and place the stopper on the top. Plug into the mains and watch as the oil is nubulised into an amazing cloud and puffed into the air to create a therapeutic atmosphere in mere moments. It is certainly safer than any oil burner that uses flame and heat to disburse fragrance and because it doesn’t use water there is no change in humidity.
I really love the look of this product with its beautiful wooden base and fascinating glass reservoir it really looks like a sculpture or piece of art rather than a fragrance diffuser! It is certainly a fantastic disbursal mechanism and creates a cloud of aroma which fills the room and can really relax or perk you up depending on the oil you choose. I have the diffuser set up in my office and it creates a really lovely work space.
I award the Organic Aromas Radiance Diffuser 5 out of 5 stars and I look forward to stocking up on essential oils for a range of smells, particularly for Christmas!
Recently I have realised that there are more fashion options for plus sized ladies out there than I previously knew about. I have to admit that I usually stick to two or three brands that I have used for many years but I recently was introduced to Pink Clove who offer stylish on-trend plus sized clothes in sizes 16 – 32 when I was offered the chance to review three items from their recently added range.
When it comes to picking out pieces I always try to consider my body shape and how comfortable the garments will be. After looking through my clothes I realised that I have hardly any nice items suitable for summer so when browsing for some items to review I went for versatile pieces which would come in handy during the warmer months: a wrap dress, a jersey shirt and I bravely picked out a jumpsuit as my last item. Here are my thoughts on the pieces:
Miranda Chevron Print Wrap Dress
The first thing that attracted me to this wrap dress was the amazing chevron print design which is really eye catching and different from other items of clothing that I own. The shape has been designed for the fuller figure with the wrap style nipping in the waist which is accentuated with elastic cinching in the fabric. It is machine washable which is very handy.
The Miranda wrap dress has half sleeves which makes me feel more comfortable than going bare and the skirt comes to knee level making it suitable for all occasions. The wrap dress fits me perfectly and makes me feel more confident. It can be worn with bare legs and cute sandals (if the weather is behaving) or with tights, ankle boots and a leather jacket for a chic biker look.
Andrea Jersey Shirt in Black
I came across the Andrea shirt top when looking for something which I could wear as part of a casual day look as well as dress up for an occasion. It has some great details like the the collar, split sleeves and the tie waist which really helps cinch in the top and create a great shape which is flattering and also mean you can change the look based on where you tie it – front, back or side.
The Andrea shirt top has a v-neck which is perfect for a lady with a generous bust, and it is very versatile matching well with linen trousers, or shorts in the summer and skirts for a range of different looks. The top is made of comfortable fabric with a bit of stretch to it which makes it really easy and nice to wear.
Nellie V-Neck Front Playsuit in Black
I never thought that I could ever wear a playsuit seeing them as more of a style for slim ladies however, when I spotted the Nellie playsuit at Pink Clove I decided to be brave and give one a go. This playsuit is made of a light soft polyester and elastane blend which gives it some stretch and makes it comfortable to wear and move around in.
Again it has a wrap shape and a v-neck line both of which are flattering for the fuller figure and half length sleeves making it great for anyone wanting to hide any bingo wings. The playsuit also has the great cinched in waste feature and the length of the shorts is suitable for all occasions. This is another great outfit to dress up with some bling and heels or dress down with some comfy flats.
Overall I have been impressed with the range at Pink Clove and I am looking forward to browsing some more stylish pieces soon.
Although I try to regularly exfoliate my face as part of my skincare regime I often forget to use a scrub on the rest of my body to shift dull, dead skin cells and ensure that my skin is soft and fresh. We’re (hopefully) heading into summer and giving your skin a good scrub before going outside in the sun is the key to a longer lasting tan.
You can spend lots of money stocking up on scrubs but they are so quick, easy and satisfying to make that I really recommend giving it a go. Sugar scrubs only have a few household ingredients and you can really personalise them to your own taste by choosing which oils and fragrances to include in the recipe. Here is my recipe for a delicious and refreshingly uplifting orange and bergamot sugar scrub.
You will need:
- Air tight jar (I used a 380ml squat jam jar from The Bottle Company)
- 200g granulated white sugar
- 175ml sweet almond carrier oil
- A few drops of Sweet Orange and Bergamot essential oils to personal preference (I used oils from Buff & Butter)
- Mix the sugar and oil together, adding a bit of oil at a time until you have the consistency you desire.
- Add a few drops of the essential oil to the mix and stir well, adding more if desired.
- Store in an air tight jar.
- Use 1 tablespoon as needed in the shower.
- Scrub skin with the mixture and rinse will. it will leave your skin feeling like silk.
Before we moved into our current house (owned by my Grandfather) the house underwent a huge renovation and overhaul to bring it up to date. From the electrics and plastering to the floors and roof, hardly anything went untouched. One of the decisions we had to make was if we wanted to keep all of the internal doors – the lounge and kitchen both had doors which we felt would be a bit anti-social when we had people over.
We decided to remove the doors to make it more of a fluid space, but there are so many options these day for different types of doors so you can really personalise your home and make it suit your lifestyle. Here are some of my favourite styles which you should consider when reevaluating your home.
When you think of swing doors your mind might travel to old Western movies and the saloon doors, which is basically what swing doors are. They are perfect for creating a modern minimal barrier between rooms with a range of heights on offer so you can still be sociable and talk to people in your room despite being in another room, such as when you’re cooking in the kitchen but still want to join in the conversation with your guests in the dining room. Of course they also make a great talking point! Swing doors come in a variety of styles and materials so you can match them to the rest of your interior. You can get some good deals on your swing door hardware here.
Sliding barn doors
When looking for new doors for your home you probably think about doors that opening inwards or outwards, but what about doors that slide instead? Make a real statement with some sliding barn doors which can really change the feel of a room with their unique style and progressive design. Great for saving space, these doors slide along the wall and do not require any swing space when opening or closing. Sliding barn doors work well in any space or room thanks to the rolling door hardware. Again, these doors come in many different styles and materials and by simply switching from doorknobs to barn door pulls, you will give your traditional home a modern look. See more benefits of sliding barn doors here.
One of the most well known style of doors are bi-folding doors which help to being the outside inside and can offer great access to your patio or garden. A good set of bi-fold doors will make the best use of the room and the patio or lawn at the same time and can maximise space and they boost the natural light in your home whether open or closed. Bi-folding doors take up very little space when open due to their concertina effect, unlike sliding doors which slide behind another window, this offers the benefit of opening up the entire wall. Great for small rooms as well as large, bi-folding doors can even stack outside if there is not enough space inside. I really love the look and functionality of bi-folding doors and I think they make a really lovely design feature. Check out some great examples on pinterest.
Doors are often forgotten when a renovation is going on in a house yet they can offer some great functionality as well as interior style, so don’t let the opportunity to make a chance pass you by!
I recently attended an event at Lush in Bromley celebrating their Father’s Day smugger’s soul range which celebrates humble sandalwood oil with it’s earthy fragrance being perfect for men. I was lucky enough to have received a goodie bag in which I found a smugger’s soul shampoo bar which my husband and I have been testing out.
The smugger’s soul shampoo bar is made from fair trade organic cocoa butter with lemongrass, rosewood and sandalwood oil which creates an uplifting, soothing and cleansing product for the hair. The sandalwood which gives this shampoo bar its amazing smoky scent comes from sustainable, ethical sources. It certainly has an interesting look to it being a deep indigo colour with orange splodges!
It has been a long time since I tried one of Lush’s shampoo bars and in all honesty I was a bit dubious that such a small looking bar would create much of a lather but I was pleasantly surprised as it took mere moments for the bar to create woody smelling bubbles in generous proportions! Simply later up in the hand and then apply or rub the bar directly on the hair, lather up and rinse.
I am rather fond of the smugger’s soul shampoo bar, it has a really nice fragrance (although not overpowering), it creates a good bubbly lather and my hair felt clean and nourished after use. My husband pointed out that it left his hair cleansed by not dried out which can happen with some products. We have enjoyed using the smugger’s soul shampoo bar and would recommend and the rest of the collection as a treat or as a gift.
We award the smugger’s soul shampoo bar from Lush 5 out of 5 stars.