Restaurant Review: Cote Brasserie - Manchester

Friday, February 28, 2020
Earlier this week I was very kindly invited to visit my local Cote Brasserie restaurant in Manchester with guests for a complimentary meal and drinks which was in equal parts an exciting but also an anxiety inducing offer. I'm lucky enough to receive a fair amount of lovely event invites and review experiences but I end up turning down the vast majority of emails as my anxiety prevents me from accepting.

However, I didn't want to turn down this offer as it would be a fantastic opportunity to treat my friends but also because my parents love Cote Brasserie and visited a few days before I did to celebrate their wedding anniversary. I'm so glad that I visited the restaurant and I'm grateful for the lovely invite as we had a fantastic evening and meal!
Cote Brasserie is a French restaurant chain with restaurant locations around the UK from Bristol, Bath and Brighton to Windsor, Wimbledon and Worcester. There are a variety of menus to choose from including the pre-theatre, breakfast, gluten free and children's menu to the prestige set menu and vegan/vegetarian menu. I naturally chose the vegetarian and vegan menu (as they have recently expanded their vegetarian and vegan range) but they had such a great variety of options on all of their menus so you're bound to find something you'll love.

Upon arriving we were greeted by the lovely staff at the Manchester restaurant and were seated. The decor within the restaurant is luxe but also very cosy and inviting which creates such a relaxing atmosphere. I never usually visit any restaurants as I can feel a little uncomfortable so it was a refreshing and very welcome change to the usual tense and slightly awkward feeling I typically experience.
I was given the option for the vegetarian and vegan menu which included quite a few main courses that I could choose from but I had to choose the Wild Mushroom and Walnut Parmentier (doesn't it sound delicious) as well as the Lemon Sorbet, both of which are vegan. I never choose a starter, wherever I go but my friends chose the fougasse, prawn gratinee and chicken liver parfait, all of which they loved (the fougasse looked absolutely delicious and I wish there was a vegan option available).

Being vegan, or vegetarian, can be a little tricky when it comes to eating in restaurants or even takeaways as there are usually sides and other options that seem vegan but they aren't labelled as such but thankfully on the Cote Brasserie menu, all of the vegan options are labelled as vegan including the frites and salads etc.
 
The vegan mushroom and walnut parmentier was so delicious and very moreish! It is almost a vegan version of a cottage pie, of sorts, so it is naturally very comforting and filling. French cuisine isn't something I'm very familiar with, especially since I became mostly vegan a few years ago but I wish it was a style of cooking I'd explored sooner as I don't think many French recipes are naturally vegan without making any changes. I would love to try and recreate this vegan parmentier sometime in the future as I think it would make a great main for family dinners.

My friends all chose from the a la carte menu and opted for the steaks which were all served with the most adorable cup of fries! Everyone loved their starter and main course and they were all served by friendly and attentive staff who were kind enough to explain the options, offer bread for the table and always be on hand for questions or ask if we needed anything.
Finally for dessert, I chose the lemon sorbet which is a sweet treat I've had on holiday in the Mediterranean so it always brings back summer holiday memories. There was a lemon or raspberry option and it was tempting to chose both but I'm glad I chose lemon as it was delicious and far creamier and flavourful than I remember the Mediterranean offerings being. My friend chose the praline crepes which looked incredible and the chocolate fondant that was the most indulgent chocolaty treat!

We all had such a lovely evening filled with lots of laughter and delicious food which is something we all needed so I'm very grateful for the review opportunity! Everything was perfect, from the food and presentation to the welcoming staff, decor and the calm, cosy atmosphere. As I've said, I don't typically enjoy going to restaurants on the whole but I would highly recommend Cote Brasserie and I would love to visit again (particularly as I loved their vegan options), which is something I didn't think I'd say about any restaurant.

Have you been to Cote Brasserie? What do you think of their menu? 

*gifted

DegustaBox - February 2020

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
I'm trying to stick to my rule of publishing my reviews of the wonderful DegustaBox packages within the month so today's post is my review of the February DegustaBox which is themed around Easter! You can read my previous DegustaBox reviews and subscription box reviews for more information. Also, check out my latest giveaway on Twitter for a chance to win a Slip Silk Sleep Mask (worth £50).

*DegustaBox - February 2020 
I always love the theme for each DegustaBox and this months theme is perfect - Easter. The box contains a plethora of delicious snacks, so many of which are vegan! There's a great range of products from cooking ingredients and milkshakes to vegan chocolate, snack bars and easy lunch ideas. The brands vary from Heinz, Very Lazy and Galaxy to KitKit, Trek, Grey Poupon and more.
*Galaxy Vegan Bars (£3, each)
Let's start with the most exciting products in the box - the new vegan chocolate bars from Galaxy. Thankfully before I switched to a fully vegan diet at the beginning of 2019, I didn't love chocolate and I have to admit that vegan chocolate isn't fantastic. However, the new Hotel Chocolat vegan nutmilk batons are incredible and a very close second has to be the Galaxy bars. I bought the caramelised hazelnut bar a few weeks ago and loved it so I was very happy to see not one but three bars in the February box.

As I'm a DegustaBox ambassador I am lucky enough to receive multiple flavours of some of the items in the box but you will only receive one of the three flavours, either caramelised hazelnut, caramel and sea salt or orange. I haven't tried the latter but I definitely recommend the caramelised hazelnut and caramel and sea salt flavours!
*Trek Protein Flapjacks - Cocoa Oat (£2.50)
Another product that I've purchased previously are the protein flapjacks from Trek. I purchased a bulk box of the bars (in the cocoa oat flavour) a couple of months ago as they're a great on the go, heathy and filling snack bar so I was happy to receive more. The bars contain 9g of protein, they're vegan and they are very moreish. I will definitely buy more again in the future!

*Jacked Foods Jackfruit Chunks and Ndizi Banana (£1.89)
One of my favourite things about the DegustaBoxes is the inclusion of a range of products and brands that I haven't heard of before, such as these dried fruit pieces. I haven't tried the jackfruit option but the ndizi banana pieces were surprisingly delicious - I don't usually like bananas or banana flavoured snacks but I loved these.
*My Sweet Chickpea (£1.25)
Another sweet vegan treat are these chocolate coated roasted chickpeas from My Sweet Chickpea. Firstly, the brand name and packaging is amazing! As well as the dried jackfruit and dried banana from Jacked Foods, I also didn't know if I'd like these - I haven't tried chickpeas in anything other than savoury meals but they were very addictive!

*Heinz Pasta Shapes (55p each)
I used to love tinned pasta like this growing up, especially if the pasta was in the shape of a cartoon or movie character so I knew that my friends son would love these too so I've passed them on as he likes Paw Patrol which is one of the pasta shapes. There should be two tins including Paw Patrol and Frozen in the February box.
*KitKat Easter Bunny (65p each)
The easter specific product in the box are two cute KitKat easter bunny chocolates - which you should also receive two of. I loved receiving chocolates likes this during easter as a child and if there was a vegan version that would be perfect. They are gluten free, free from colour/preservatives and they are vegetarian.

*Shaken Udder Milkshakes (£1.40)
Occasionally there will be a voucher within the box for a free product that isn't in the box as it is a fresh or refrigerated product and the voucher in the February box is for a free milkshake by Shaken Udder (which if I'm honest is such a stomach turning brand name, sorry). There are many flavours, some of which contain fresh fruit or Belgian chocolate as well as cows milk. The milkshakes are gluten free, they contain less than 5% added sugar and they are suitable for vegetarians.
*Livia's Salted Caramel Million Squares (£1.50)
The last vegan chocolatey snack is the very gooey squares from Livia's. I absolutely adore the peanut butter and jelly Dunx from Livia's but sadly they are discontinued (cries, literally). While I don't love these like the previous Livia's product, I do still like them. I think they're a great indulgent on the go snack.

*Very Lazy Slow Cooker Pastes (£1.99 each) 
I love the Very Lazy garlic and ginger jars and it's something I will continue to purchase but I didn't know they made any other products. You should receive one of the two paste flavours, either smoky Spanish stew or harissa tagine. I haven't tried either yet but they are both vegan which is great!

*Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard (£1.50)
Another cooking ingredient within the box is the Grey Poupon dijon mustard which is a brand that has been included within a previous DegustaBox. I'm not really a fan of mustard but my mum loves this one and she loved the others within the December box too.

*Lost Coast Fruit Spritzer (£2.49)
The second and final drink included is a bit of an unusual product as I received the sparkling apple cider vinegar juice with mango, turmeric and ginger...it sounds like a very strange but healthy combination. I love the packaging and design but I was definitely a little wary about trying this product and if I'm honest, I still don't know how to feel about it. It definitely tastes of turmeric and it's quite tangy but it is also fruity and sweet so you'll have to try it for yourself! There are two other flavours you could have received instead in your box.
*Mug Shot High Protein Roast Chicken Pasta (£1.29)
Last but not least is an easy work lunch option from Mug Shot. I used to love their cheesy pasta pots but sadly I don't think any of them are vegan - it would be amazing if they brought out a few vegan flavours! This one isn't vegan or vegetarian as it contains chicken (unlike the vast majority of products like this that are 'chicken' flavoured). It contains 13g of protein and is less than 260 calories.

Overall, I'm very happy with the February box as it contains so many delicious sweet vegan treats but my favourite item by far has to be the Galaxy vegan bars (in particular the caramelised hazelnut flavour) as well as the Trek bars. Don't forget to use the code DTPL4 to get £5 off your first box!

Have you tried any of these products? 

*Gifted

#HeartFeltWithMoonpig

Sunday, February 23, 2020
Earlier this month myself and my mum were invited to a lovely event with Moonpig at Whitworth Locke in Manchester and we were treated to one of the loveliest blogger events I've ever been to. I've used Moonpig for friends birthday cards for years so I was excited to attend the event, especially as I was able to share the experience with my mum - she hasn't been to a blog event before!

We were greeted by the lovely Moonpig team and after a presentation about all of the wonderful products and ethos of Moonpig, we were split into groups and we were able to take part in four different activities throughout the night. I've been to a few blog events and none of them have involved set activities which made them so awkward but having a more structured event made for a very enjoyable and entertaining event.
There were four activities throughout the evening and my favourite had to be flower arranging which is something I've wanted to try for a while and myself and my mum had such an amazing time choosing and arranging the flowers into beautiful bouquets! I opted for a mostly pink bouquet with roses and lots of foliage (I had to use as much eucalyptus as I could as I adore the scent) with a few white chrysanthemums. 

I loved the process and being taught how to arrange the flowers was a great experience and it is definitely something I would love to do again in the future - I've already started looking for flower arranging courses around Manchester (if anyone has any recommendations within the city centre, I'd love to know in the comments section below). I'm so happy with my bouquet and it is still going over two weeks after the event which is very impressive!
There was a photographer throughout the event and I'm so happy with the photos! Apart from friends and family weddings, I've never had my photograph taken professionally and I love the result. I didn't notice the photograph most of the time so I'm surprised at the number of photographs of myself and my mum. There was a photo booth at the event with a green screen so we could choose whatever background we wanted for our mother/daughter photos. 

With the photographs we were then able to use the provided laptops to create our own personalised Mother's Day card on the Moonpig website which was an unexpected but great activity for the event. Even though we made and ordered our Mother's Day cards at around 7pm at the event, the card arrived in the post the very next day which is fantastic! 
For the next event of the evening, we took part in a cocktail making class but as I was driving, I only had a sip or two of the cocktails. The first we made was a French 75 which contains gin, champagne, lemon, sugar syrup and a mint leaf to finish the cocktail. I don't drink very much at all, apart from special occasions but I will definitely be ordering a French 75 at the next event as it was so delicious! 

We also made a few other cocktails which was very fun and my mum had a great time. I think for Mother's Day or her birthday, I'd love to take her to either a cocktail making class or a flower arranging class as she loved both. For the final activity of the night, my mum had a hand massage and I was kindly given a gift at the end of the event which was a generous treat to finish such a fantastic blogger event. I'm usually so anxious about events that I always turn them down but I'm so glad to went to this one.
I received the *Penny Post Letter Box Hamper (17.99) which is a fantastic gift idea! It contains chocolates, tea, hot chocolate and pampering goodies including lip balm, emery boards and a hand cream so I think it would make a great Mother's Day gift! There are quite a few letterbox gifts to choose from on Moonpig for a range of gift recipients and budgets as well as letterbox flowers. 

Moonpig is the ideal place to find Mother's Day gift as well as beautiful personalised cards! They are focused to creating heartfelt moments with their special cards that everyone loves. The process of creating their cards and ordering is so easy (I made a birthday card, with my own money, for my auntie a few days ago with Moonpig and it was so quick). Making a personalised card and ordering special gifts is so quick and convenient with Moonpig and there are so many options to choose from, including flowers which something I didn't know Moonpig offered. If you're looking for a thoughtful gift or a special personalised card, look no further than Moonpig. 

Have you made a card or ordered a gift on Moonpig? 

*gifted
** Photographs of myself and my mum were taken by EGPhotographer 

*Popular Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments

Friday, February 21, 2020
Image from Pinterest
*This is a sponsored post
One of my smaller goals for 2020 was to register at my local dentist as it's something I've been putting off for years and thankfully earlier this month I did it! I'm so glad that I did as dental hygiene and health are incredibly important but I think that it is something many of us neglect, either because of a lack of time or anxiety, the latter is something I definitely struggled with. As well as registering at my dentist, there are a couple of cosmetic dentistry procedures I'd like to potentially look into for 2020 as well such as teeth whitening.

Braces 
I think that braces, of all kinds, are the most common form of cosmetic dentistry. Thankfully I've never had to wear braces but a few of my friends growing up and my sister have had to wear braces which doesn't look like the most comfortable process but there are new options available such as invisible braces. The James Clinic is an orthodontic clinic with various locations throughout Ireland that offer a range of treatments such as implants, teeth whitening, root canal treatments, dental hygiene services and much more.

They offer a couple of adult orthodontic options including Damon braces and Lingual braces, the latter is an invisible brace. Until my sister started using an invisible brace a couple of years ago, I had no idea that they were an option as growing up in the 90's, anyone who had to wear a brace only had the option of metal braces with colourful elastics but now there are much more discreet options available. Invisible braces seem like a fantastic option for those who need or want straighter teeth with an effective but discreet solution.

Implants & Teeth Whitening
Implants are artificial teeth that replace missing teeth and they are usually composed of titanium; dental implants can be used for a variety of reasons and they provide the base for crowns, dentures or bridges. Again, dental implants aren't something I currently need but teeth whitening is an option I'm considering. I've tried a few at home kits and a couple of them seem to have worked fairly well, although I'm always a little terrified if something goes wrong!

I would love to have my teeth professionally whitened as while I don't smoke and I look after my teeth, I do drink coffee everyday and my teeth aren't as white as they could be. The treatment offered at The James Clinic involves custom trays that are filled with the teeth whitening bleach which can be used in the comfort of your own home - it sounds like an ideal treatment to try as it is probably a much safer option compared to the at home kits you can buy.

Dental Hygiene & Cleaning 
Lastly, an option that combines teeth health and cosmetic dentistry in a way is basic dental maintenance and cleaning. As I've mentioned, I recently registered at my local dentist (which was nothing like my previous dental practice which was more reminiscent of a horror movie set) and the dentist cleaned my teeth which was a bizarre experience but it is something that is very important and shouldn't be ignored.

An interesting treatment, in terms of hygiene services offered at The James Clinic, is 'air polishing' which is a new polishing treatment that uses air, water and a specifically made powder to remove staining from tea, coffee and red wine which sounds fantastic and it is something that I wish my local dentist could offer!

Have you had any of these cosmetic dental treatments or anything similar? 

Latest In Beauty - February 2020

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
It's that time of the month again for my review of the new Latest In Beauty edit! I'm lucky enough to be sent their boxes to review but I have bought their boxes in the past. As well as their monthly edits, they have limited edition collections available as well such as the new 2020 Beauty Resolutions Box (£28, worth over £152) which I've already reviewed on my blog.

*Latest In Beauty February Box - Brush Crush Edit
If you're not familiar with Latest In Beauty, they release a new selection of products every month and there's a new theme each month. Unlike most subscription boxes, you can choose every single item in the box from their selection (don't worry as there are almost 150 products to choose from) with new items added everyday. You can choose the number of items in your box as well, from the 'beauty novice' box at £16, the 'beauty enthusiast' box at £22 and the 'beauty guru' box at £25 all of which are the one off boxes but you can opt for the cheaper monthly subscription instead.
*MAC Cosmetics Lipstick in Chilli 
Each month there are a couple of 'hall of fame' and star products and for the month of February there's an extra special 'hall of fame' product and it's a MAC lipstick! I was very excited to see a MAC Cosmetics lipstick within the selection for February as it's such a famous and coveted brand. I have a few MAC products including their lipsticks and out of the products I've tried, the eyeshadows and lipsticks are the ones worth purchasing. The shade available on Latest In Beauty is Chilli which is a beautiful brick red shade which is something I usually wouldn't buy as it isn't the most flattering in terms of the colour of your teeth; however it is such a beautiful shade!
*Hairflick Vegan Hair Vitamins 
One of my favourite things about the Latest In Beauty Boxes is the wide range of items that include in their selection each month and the inclusion of products I never would have heard about otherwise, such as these vegan hair vitamins. I'm always on the look out for vegan vitamins as I don't love the taste of the ones I have been using for a while so I had to give these a go. Firstly, I love the packaging and thankfully they taste delicious! They have a 'blue raspberry' flavour which is very unusual but I love it and I will be picking up more of these vitamins in the future.
*SportFX Eyelash Curler
If you've been following my blog since last summer then you might remember that back in July I had laser eye surgery and because of that I had to throw away all of my old eye makeup as well as a few tools such as my very worn and beloved Tweezerman Eyelash Curler so I was happy to find one on Latest In Beauty as I hadn't purchased a replacement. The Tweezerman eyelash curler was fantastic and probably the best I've ever used but this one is a great second as unlike most eyelash curlers, this one fits the deep set shape of my eye really well. It doesn't pinch the skin, it is easy to use and I'd definitely recommend it.

*Erborian CC Cream 
I've been a little obsessed with Japanese and Korean food and culture recently and I wanted to try more Korean beauty products too so I added the Erborian CC Cream to my box. I've heard great things about this brand but sadly this CC cream just isn't for me. It is an off white cream that when blended into the skin becomes a skin tone shade (I have the shade Clair) but it isn't hydrating or quite light enough for my skin unfortunately.
*SportFX Body Build Dry Shampoo 
The final Sport FX product I wanted to try was their volumising dry shampoo which claims to be perfect for all hair types and is specifically formulated for active lifestyles. I do like this dry shampoo, it helps my hair to look a little fresher in-between washes but it isn't the best dry shampoo I've tried - I'm still on the hunt for the best so if you have any recommendations, leave them in the comments.

*Pure Essentiel Rest and Relax Air Spray 
I love using room sprays, candles and diffusers, especially if they contain relaxing ingredients or scents such as lavender so I had to try this mini 'air spray'. It contains twelve essential oils and is 100% natural. The scent is very strong but I love it and I will be looking out for this brand and product in the future.

Have you tried any of these products or the Latest In Beauty boxes?

*gifted

DegustaBox - January 2020

Sunday, February 16, 2020
My first DegustaBox of 2020 is here and it's a little late but I'm trying to post my reviews within the month instead of leaving it so late - fingers crossed I can stick to that for the next box! I've been lucky enough to receive many DegustaBox packages and I always love receiving the boxes as they contain so many delicious snacks, drinks and cooking ingredients. If that is something you're interested in then check out DegustaBox and use the code DTPL4 to get £5 off your box.

*DegustaBox - January 2020 
The theme for the first box of 2020 is 'breakfast and on the go' which is a great theme for the start of the year! There's a great selection of items in the January box, from vegan lattes, snack bars and chocolate to porridge, lunch pots and more. There are quite a few vegan items in the box and I've found a few new favourites from this box that I'll definitely be buying in the future.
*PrepCo Thai Green Curry and Indian Spiced Lentils (£2)
Let's start with the lunch items from the box including these delicious sounding instant lunch pots from PrepCo, which is a brand I haven't heard of before. I received the Thai Green Curry and the Indian Spiced Lentil pots but you should have received one of the four flavour options in your box. One of them is vegan but the other is vegetarian. I haven't been able to try them yet but I think they'd make great work lunches.

*Kallo Organic Honey Rice and Corn Cakes (£1.89)
Another option to add to your work or school lunch are these cutely packaged honey rice and corn cakes from Kallo (I love their vegan stock cubes). They contain organic honey and can be purchased from Waitrose and Sainsburys. Items like this aren't something I eat but I know my mum loves them for a quick work lunch!
*Nescafe Vegan Almond Latte (£2.98)
My favourite item from the box and one that I've purchased multiple items before receiving it in the January DegustaBox are the relatively new vegan lattes from Nescafe. I have bought so many of the oat latte sachets but I have only tried a box or two of the almond option. I love both and I cannot recommend them enough. I think the oat flavour is my favourite but I'm very happy with both flavours and now I just need to try the coconut one!

*Crafted Blueberry and Blackberry Fruit Drink (£1.50)
The second and final drink item is a fruit drink from Crafted which is a brand that has been included in previous boxes. This drink is certified by the Vegan Society and it is one of your five a day. Additionally it doesn't contain sweeteners, preservatives or any added sugar which is great. I love fruit drinks and this one is delicious.
*Sun-Pat Peanut Butter (£1.79)
Another of my favourite items from the box are the two tubs of peanut butter from Sun-Pat. I received both the smooth and crunchy varieties as I'm lucky enough to be a DegustaBox ambassador but you'll have received one of the two. I love both options but I think that the smooth peanut butter is my favourite - I love having it on toast with raspberry jam!

*Eat Natural Simply Vegan Peanut, Coconut and Chocolate Bar (£1)
Yet another item from the box that I love is this delicious snack bar from Eat Natural which is a brand I love - it's been included in a previous box and I've purchased their items myself. Snack bars are some of my favourite on the go items as they are quick, easy and healthy snack options. Snack bars that contain chocolate and nuts are my favourite so naturally I love this one and I'd definitely buy it in the future.
*Bounce Energy Ball - Peanut (£1.79)
Sticking with the theme of on the go snacks, the next is a peanut protein ball from Bounce. It contains a whopping 13g of protein as well as healthy fats and antioxidants. I love peanut butter so this snack sounds perfect for me but sadly it isn't vegan but I'm sure so many people would love this addition to the January box.

*KitKat Chunky More and Yorkie More (£1.29 per bar)
Next up for snacks are two chocolate bars by KitKit and Yorkie which aren't your usual chocolate bars as they come in strange flavours - raspberry and hazelnut (which sounds incredible) and apple, oats and cinnamon'. Also, both bars contains more protein and fibre than regular chocolate bars but sadly again they aren't vegan. I hopefully assumed when I opened the box that they would be vegan as vegan products tend to focus on protein but I have my fingers crossed for vegan versions in the future.
*Chescots Supergut Porridge (£1.99)
I have already mentioned a few of my favourite items from the box but I think my absolute favourite from the January box are the two porridge pots from Chescots, which is a brand I've never heard of. Each porridge pot contains half of your daily fibre and prebiotic fibre to support your gut. There are two flavours (raspberry and blackcurrant and coconut) and both are gluten free, dairy free and vegan which is fantastic. The raspberry option is my favourite but I love both of them and I already have a couple of the raspberry pots in my basket on Ocado!

*Whitworths Berry and White Chocolate Shots (£1.60 for four pack)
We're coming to the final few products and the last sweet snack is this box of mixed fruit, nuts and chocolate from Whitworths. I received another variation of this snack in a previous DesgustaBox and this one also isn't vegan so I've passed them onto my mum as she liked the previous flavour opinion and she liked these too.
*Wholesums Fresh Veg Popped Chips (£1.75)
The last snack is a packet of veggie chips which are made from whole potatoes, peas and carrots. They contain all of the nutrients from the veggies and they're only 86 calories per packet - they are also vegan. As well as snack bars, I like snacks like this which are quick, easy and healthy. I tried the salted version and loved them!

*Zest Vegan Basil Pesto (£2.20)
Last but definitely not least is another vegan item (it makes me very happy to see vegan items in the boxes) and it's a vegan pesto! I love pesto and I typically make my own but add in vegan cheese and spinach (which isn't a usual pesto ingredient) to bulk it out. I cannot wait to try this pesto as making it can be delicious but also a little messy.

Don't forget to use the code DTPL4 to get £5 off your box!

Have you tried any of these products? What do you think of the January DegustaBox? 

*gifted

Valentine's Day Gifts With TrendHim

Thursday, February 13, 2020
Valentine's Day is only a few days away but thankfully there is still time to buy a treat for yourself or a loved one before the big day! As we all know by now, I love the give beautifully designed but practical gifts and I think a bag or backpack would make a great gift for your partner or friends this year.

*Lazy Bear Lewis Backpack (£59)
I was very kindly sent the Lazy Bear 'Lewis' Backpack from Trendhim, an online store specialising in mens accessories and jewellery, from cufflinks, neckties, belts, grooming products and pocket squares to jewellery, watches and bags. If you are looking for a Valentine's Day for your husband or partner, look no further as they have such a wide range of accessories and gifts for a variety of styles and budgets.
I opted for the 'Lewis' backpack as I think it is a great unisex backpack and I personally love the combination of the navy fabric alongside the tan faux leather straps and detailing - I think it looks a little retro! It has a large zipped compartment with dividers including a section for a laptop (with a maximum size of 15.4"). Additionally, it has front and side zipped pockets and adjustable straps.

Backpacks are a great practical gift idea for those who love hiking, camping, festivals, travelling or as a commuting backpack. It is an ideal size with all of the pockets and space you could want! I personally find that most backpacks can be quite uncomfortable or too large but this one is comfortable and the dimensions are ideal for me!
There are so many backpacks to choose from on Trendhim including a few variations of this backpack from Lazy Bear. I opted for the 'Lewis' design but I also love the 'Lucas' backpack, 'Logan' laptop bag and the 'Lermont' foldable backpack, all of which are from lazy bear. If you are looking for a gift for your husband or partner then check out Trendhim for a huge range of gift ideas from beard grooming kits, laptop bags, hats, jewellery and more. They also have gift wrapping, gift packaging and boxes available which is a great option for those, like me, who cannot wrap presents!

What do you think of this gift idea? Will you be checking out the Trendhim website for gift ideas?

*Gifted

Latest In Beauty 2020 Beauty Resolutions Box

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
We all know by now how much I love beauty subscription boxes (and subscription boxes in general) but I think some of my favourites have to be not only the monthly boxes from Latest In Beauty but there incredible value limited edition boxes! I've been lucky enough receive a few of their limited edition boxes in the past and I'm very happy with their latest offering as it contains so many amazing (and a few unusual products) but it is also fantastic value for money.

*Latest In Beauty 2020 Beauty Resolutions Box (£28)
The box, as you can decipher from the name, is all about beauty resolutions and being more conscious in terms of using high quality products that work effectively and take time for ourselves; the latter is something we all need to do more of in 2020. The box contains a selection of mini and full sized items ranging from higher end brands such as Kiehls to more affordable options including Kind Natured and Burt's Bees.
*Kiehls Deep Pore Masque 
Let's start with one of the items I was most excited about from the box as Kiehls is a brand I've wanted to try more from for a while - I adore their hand salve! The mask is a great trial or travel size and it claims to eliminate debris and clear pores to leave the skin looking clearer and brighter. I cannot wait to try this mask as I've heard nothing but great things about Kiehls skincare.

*Patchology Moodpatch Keep Smiling Lip Gel 
Sticking with the skincare theme, of sorts, with the lip mask included in the box. I've trie a couple of lip mask from previous subscription boxes and they seem to work well although they are very bizarre products to use, if I'm honest!
*Kind Natured Shea and Aloe Cleansing Face Wash 
The box has a fantastic range of skincare items to create a new skincare line up for the upcoming months! The face wash included in the box is huge at 200ml and contains natural ingredients such as shea butter and aloe to gently cleanse the skin without being harsh. I think this cleanser would have been perfect when I has eczema as it is very gentle and ideal for sensitive skin.

*Ashanti Cosmetics 15 Shades of Pomegranate Face Cream 
Ashanti Cosmetics is a brand I haven't heard of before which is one of the reasons I love using beauty subscription boxes as it's a great way of trying new brands and products at an affordable price. The face cream is beautifully packaged and it's another full sized product at 60ml. It is a very rich cream so it's perfect for the remaining winter days especially if you have dry skin as I do.
*Burt's Bees Lip Balm
I have used so many Burt's Bees lip balms (and many of their other products, including their lipsticks) in the past and I cannot recommend their lip balms enough. I used their classic beeswax lip balm for a couple of years when I first started blogging but I haven't tried many of their other flavours - there are so many to choose from. I love their packaging and the inclusion of all natural ingredients.

*Slow Ageing Essentials Facial Essence 
Next up for the skincare items is an award winning product. The facial essence contains a mix of active ingredients to add radiance to your complexion which I definitely need after the dull cold winter we've had in England!

*Murad Renewing Eye Cream
I like to think that I have a good skincare routine and thanks to my blog I'm able to try many wonderful beauty products but there's one aspect of my routine and collection that is lacking - eye creams. I'm always lazy when it comes to eye cream as I think my regular moisturiser does a great job on it's own but I am interested to try this eye cream to see if it makes a difference to puffiness or my rather horrendous dark circles.
*Living Proof Restore Mask Treatment 
There are two haircare items in the box (I would have loved to see more or a few more makeup items) and the first is from a brand I need to try more from, Living Proof. Living Proof products have received so many rave reviews and I cannot wait to try this mask as it sounds fantastic. It claims to repair dry and damaged hair whole also protecting it from future damage and strengthening the hair to become 20x more resistant to breakage - that sounds very impressive! If you have any product recommendation from Living Proof then I'd love to know in the comment below!
*Senspa Sleep Therapy Bath Soak 
The final few items are an eclectic mix of body care, baby friendly products, haircare, dental products and a pillow mist but the first is a heavenly scented bath soak from another brand I haven't heard of before. The bath soak contains lavender, bergamot, patchouli and geranium which sounds like the perfect fragrance to me! I can't wait for a pamper night so I can use this product along with the Kiehls and the Living Proof masks.

*Little Butterfly London Dewdrops At Dawn Body Lotion
The final body product is a slightly unusual one but also a product that is so beautifully packaged! The brand is aimed at those with very sensitive skin such as that of a newborn and individuals with eczema. It contains organic certified ingredients and is dermatologist-approved so it's a fantastic addition to the box for those with highly sensitive skin. I used to have eczema on my hands and I think this lotion would have been a fantastic hand lotion for my desk (thankfully I don't have eczema at all anymore)!
*Lebon Whitening Toothpaste 
When I first opened the box, one of the first products to catch my attention was this toothpaste which has to have the most luxurious packaging for a toothpaste ever! It contains a mix of mint, ylang ylang and yuzu which is another unusual aspect of this product but a flavour that I definitely prefer to traditionally mint flavoured toothpastes. I find that mint toothpastes can taste and feel very harsh on my sensitive teeth but thankfully that isn't as much of an issue with this one.

*Sport FX Blend and Go Sponge 
One of the products I've been using the most from the box is the Sport FX sponge which is what I've been using since I received the box to apply my base products. I have used so many makeup sponges but none with a shape like this - it is the best shape for apply and blending base products around the eyes and corner of the nose! I'll definitely be buying another when this one is worn out!
*Biovene Barcelona Shampoo Bar 
The penultimate product is a shampoo bar which is a great addition to the box as I am trying to be more eco-friendly and I think shampoo bars are an easy switch to reduce plastic. I have the 'citrus dream' bar but you could have received the 'pink heaven' option instead - the one I have smells amazing and so refreshing! I love the Lush shampoo bars I've tried so hopefully this one is just as good.

*Feather and Down Pillow Mist
Last but not least is one of my favourite pillow mists ever! I've been lucky enough to receive a couple of bottles of this mist over the years and it never fails to help me unwind and fall asleep. I love the scent as it is a very heady mix of relaxing florals including lavender which is one of my favourite scents ever! I cannot recommend this pillow mist enough!

Have you tried any of these products? Will you be buying the 2020 Beauty Resolutions box? 

*gifted