Monday, 12 March 2018

Travel: Jurys Inn Hotel Birmingham

We love the city and love any excuse to venture there for a day or two and so when we had the opportunity for a weekend without the kids, I knew 100% we’d be spending it in Birmingham and wanted to make the most of it so I booked us a night in the Jurys Inn on Broad street. After staying last year for a hen party, I knew it was a great, central hotel with super comfy beds and reasonably priced so, we got it booked and had a child-free weekend in one of our favourite places! 

Based right in the middle of Broad Street, the Jurys Inn Birmingham hotel is the perfect location if you’re a heading for a night out or a weekend of shopping! Easily accessible to the city centre where you’ll find 100’s of shops, restaurants and cafes but also within walking distance to lots of other bars, restaurants and clubs including those in the Mailbox and in Arcadian. We went with the intention of having some food, having a wander and grabbing a few drinks before heading to the cinema to see the final instalment of the 50 Shades series. 

The Rooms
We booked online and had a great deal as the weekend we booked included tickets to Cadburys world and Breakfast for just £99.00! We have actually kept our Cadburys World tickets for another time so be sure to read the review of that when it comes! But for that price, it was such a bargain and I’m glad we decided to book! I requested a high room too, knowing that a Saturday night in the hotel meant lots of noise and in-comings from people who had been out drinking and dancing and I didn’t want to be woken. 

We were on the 12th floor, amazing views of the city and a huge room too! Our room was just a standard double room but was really spacious and had plenty of room if you need a cot or extra bed too! The beds, oh, the beds, the comfiest hotel beds I’ve ever stayed in! They’re huge too - meaning we can both spread out and not worry about touching each other (not that we care about that...). The bathroom was great too, with lots of light, a great shower and a shower gel there incase you forgot your own! Everything else in the room was standard but you did get an ironing board, iron and hairdryer which were great additions! 

The hotel has a restaurant downstairs where you can have dinner and breakfast with a coffee bar serving Costa coffees so you know you can get a decent fix of caffeine if that’s your thing. The rooms also had tea and coffee making facilities with some yummy shortbread biscuits too and complimentary bottled water, however, I am a Jurys Member so I’m not sure if this is a standard thing but I’m sure it is. Upon check-in, we were also given 2 complimentary Costa vouchers and 10% off any other food/drink in the hotel which was fab - perfect if you wanted to grab a little room service or a drink from the bar! We also had a complimentary bottle of Prosecco left in the room but have no idea where this came from as the staff on reception knew nothing about it but just told us to enjoy it on the house! 

The breakfast in the morning was amazing, with all sorts to choose from including Smoothies, pastries, hot and cold food, drinks and fruit, there was definitely something there for everyone and I’m pretty sure we ate more than we should have but it was nice to be able to pick and choose a variety of things! 

The hotel is also very secure with a keycard operating system to get into the hotel after 10pm meaning you don’t need to worry about people wandering in and out and the staff are really helpful too. There is a water container in reception which is great in the summer to ensure you can refresh if you’ve had a long journey to get there. 

As I said, the hotel is really central so is great if you want to head to different parts of the city - being a 15 minute walk to the Bullring/Selfridges, 10 minutes from Grand New Street Station, 10 minutes to the Mailbox and smack bang in the middle of Broad street, so whatever your reasons for visiting, it’s perfect. 

The hotel also has a private carpark too which is £14.00 for 24 hours - the cheapest you’ll find in the city, so if you prefer driving to taking the train like me, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to park in the city. Simply pull into the carpark and just keep hold of your ticket and pay on departure.

If it’s food you’re after, your in the right place. With Brindley Place being just opposite and some fab restaurants just a stroll along the canal, you’re spoilt for choice with where and what you can eat! Be sure you check out Rub Steakhouse if you love dirty burgers and huge hot dogs! 

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation

There’s no denying that Makeup Revolution are pretty much taking over the world of makeup. With new releases pretty much every month, if not every week, they have really upped their game since they established back in 2014. With 1000’s of affordable yet amazing beauty products including skincare, lipsticks, eyeshadow palettes and highlighters, not to mention they are now officially CRUELTY FREE they have really shown that budget beauty can compare to higher end brands and you can get a lot of bang for your buck! 

Their newest release of the Conceal and Define Concealer has taken over the makeup world and has left professionals and bloggers astounded at the quality of the product and it has been compared to the more expensive brand Tarte and their Shape Tape Concealer, so can this Fast Base Foundation do the same?! 

Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation stick

About the Foundation
Matching their concealer shades, the Fast Base Foundation has 18 different shades matching a variety of undertones from yellow to pink and the lightest of the light matching a lot of you pale-skin beauties out there perfectly! The formula is described at ‘Satin’ and leaves a more dewy finish, something I don’t usually go for as I’m an All or nothing kinda girl but I thought I’d give it a go anyway as the glowy look is in.

The website states that: 
"the Fast Base Foundation quickly perfects, contours and highlights your complexion. The easy-to-apply stick melts into the skin blending seamlessly”

I already have 2 of the Conceal and Define Concealers and going from the shades I have (C4 and C7), I went for 2 similar shades in the Fast Base sticks and got F5 (light with pink undertones) and F7 (medium with pink undertones) as C4 was just a little too light for me. The undertones in F5 are a lot more yellow compared to C7 however when mixed together, they make the perfect shade so I think I may need to grab F6 and F8 just to compare. 

Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation stick F5 and F7
F5 & F7
Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation stick swatches

Application and Coverage
The coverage is amazing and it goes on super quick and easy, I know that hand swatches don’t really show much and of course, they aren’t blended out, but you can see the pigment and the intensity of the coverage from just one swipe. So, I applied the foundation to one side of my face for comparison (you can see the results below) and I used a mixture of both shades to give me the perfect colour. I am quite tanned but have pigmentation and my neck is lighter than my face so I always go for a paler shade in foundations. I do prefer a matte finish as I have quite an oily T-Zone, especially my nose, around my nose and mid forehead so I was really interested to see how well this would last. 

When I first applied it I wasn’t too keen - even after applying primer, my pores were visible and I could see that the formula was completely different to what I am used to. I used a damp Real Techniques Beauty Sponge to blend the foundation in and it literally took seconds! I simply patted the product into my face and it gave me amazing coverage - redness gone and my spots pretty much concealed! 

It blended like a dream and also seems to have the ability to be buildable, as it’s only a medium cover foundation, it’s a great thing if it’s buildable as those who like a full coverage foundation can use it to their delight and get the intensity they want! It’s also really lightweight and you barely feel like you have any foundation on, whether that’s because I’m so used to such a heavy base I don’t know but I really do like how it feels on my skin...

*Ok, I’m starting to really like this*

Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation stick

Makeup Revolution conceal and define concealer

With a full days wear, I applied the foundation at 9am and at around 3pm, I noticed that I needed to powder my nose and forehead as it had gone oily - 6 hours wear is pretty good though as I would usually get this with most other foundations anyway! Come 7pm, I had to take it off as it had gone patchy all over and it was just breaking up on my skin but for nearly 12 hours wear, thats some good going! 

You can see from the pictures below the coverage that it gives - this is with no other products applied (apart from my eye makeup). I definitely need a shade darker I think as it’s just a little pale but it works for me when I don’t have a tan. The shade F8 would be ideal as it’s for Medium skin with Yellow undertones.

I used the Conceal and Define concealer (£4.00) on top of the foundation for more coverage especially on my under-eyes and on the more visible blemishes and redness I have. I again, used my beauty sponge to blend that out and it worked brilliantly. I usually bake the ‘eff out of my face to make sure it all stays in place but as it’s more of a dewy foundation, I decided not to and simply just used a little powder to set my entire face

I then went on to complete my face as I would usually using the Makeup Revolution Pressed Powder in Translucent to set everything and help mattify the look a little and the Rosie for Autograph Bronzer in Bronzed Beauty for contour and definition. I used the Primark Beauty Pure Glow palette for highlighter (and inner corner) and a little Blusher from the Primark Beauty Chocolate palette to complete my face. 

before and after of Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation stick

Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation stick makeup

So, with before/after pictures proving just how good of a foundation this is, don’t just take my word for it. You can find raving reviews all over the internet and its very quickly becoming one of the must have products of 2018 with a lot of the shades being out of stock on Superdrug already! They’re available to buy from Tam Beauty but aren’t due in stores until March 28th so I recommend keeping an eye on Superdrug and ordering to your local branch if you want to get your hands on one! 

With amazing results and at just £5.00 its the cheapest foundation I’ve ever bought and tried and will actually continue to use. I’ll definitely need to use a powder to set my oily areas to help it last longer through the day but those who have drier or normal skin types will get on great without having to touch up or apply a setting powder. 

You can take a look at the full shade range on TamBeauty and also check to see if they have any in stock! 

Lashes - Ardell Wispies 
Eyeshadow - Colourpop 
Brows - Younique Brow Palette 
Lip - Primark Matte Lip creme 

before and after Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation stick

Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Mothers Day Gift Ideas

For all those who need a friendly reminder, MOTHERS DAY IS THIS SUNDAY!! Yes. THIS SUNDAY! So I’ve done a fab post to give you an idea of what you can buy all those Mums out there or even if you just fancy treating yourself. From beauty to budget, there’s something for everyone and you’ll be able to get your hands on most things just in time for the weekend! 

Take a look at what I think would make the perfect gift... 

Any type of jewellery is a winner but I am loving my Pandora bracelet at the moment. Every so often, I will treat myself to a charm but I usually ask for one at special occasions such as Birthday, Christmas and of course, Mothers Day. I have the Rose gold and Silver bracelet and it’s full of animal themed charms with a few other ones that I have got in the sale. Millie loves picking the animal ones so I love that thought goes into it from her and it’s not just something that Adam has bought on behalf of the kids. 

Watches are also such a fab gift because it doesn’t matter if you already have one, you can wear different watches for different things and dress them with your outfits. This Rose Gold one from Redherring is so beautiful and really affordable at just £35.00

mothers day jewellery

Skincare can be a bit tricky if you’re buying for other people but stick to the essentials and you can’t go wrong. Face masks are a great option as it gives the receiver a chance to pamper themselves, team with a box of chocolates and you have the perfect gift! This Hempz body mask is a great alternative to face masks as it can be used all over. Pair it with a head band or some cooling eye patches for a simple pamper treat. 

If you’re looking for something a little more luxurious, the Charlotte Tilbury skincare is amazing. I love the Magic Cream as it eases dry patches and leaves the skin feeling smooth and soft. You can buy the Magic Skincare Trilogy which contains the full sized Magic Cream, Magic Night cream and Magic Eye Rescue cream for £190.00 if you really wanted to go all out! 

You can also get some fab gift sets that have everything you need for a pamper and Pixi is a great brand to go with as its suitable for most skin types. This Fast Flash Facial kit is just £20.00 and includes a Peel and Polish face mask, Glow tonic toner and a Rose Flash balm - the 3 things that make for the perfect facial! 

charlotte tilbury magic cream

You all know that I’m a huge makeup lover and My Mum loves makeup too! Whether you’re buying a whole new collection or just a few important items, makeup is always a winner and will always have me excited whenever it’s given to me as a gift. 

Eyeshadow palettes are a great option for makeup as there’s so many shades and colours there’s bound to be at least one that they love! No7 are always a great shout for Ladies too as their products are super affordable and always look beautiful. If you want to get something a little more daring, Colourpop have some insane palettes that are super affordable but you may have to consider paying customs fees and they won’t be here on time for Mothers Day! 

Eyelashes and Nails are sure fire way to make someone feel like a million dollars and the Kiss false lashes are one of the best and more affordable lashes I’ve tried! With natural lashes and more volumising lashes, they’re perfect for Mums who don’t want to go OTT with eye makeup! You can also grab some great press on nails from impress which are really affordable too and they’re not 6 inches long so they’re manageable too! 

And not forgetting a red lipstick. A classic, bold red lipstick is the perfect finish to any makeup look and would look gorgeous on any woman! I picked out my favourite Loreal Colour Riche Lipstick as the formula is super creamy but matte and it lasts all day long! Perfect for Mums as they dish out all the kisses! 

mothers day makeup

impress nails

loreal colour riche red lipstick

It really is the perfect gift. You cannot go wrong with perfumes and with lots of lovely gift sets, there’s something to suit everyone. My 3 favourites at the moment are Cerruti 1881 - something that my Mum actually used to wear and I loved it when she wore it, Charlotte Tilbury, Scent of a Dream and Vince Camuto, Amore which is a gorgeous floral scent. 

Don’t worry too much about what the scents are about as I find perfumes are just so easily worn and everyone loves receiving a new fragrance as a gift. You can get some great deals from Cult Beauty too with free gifts alongside some of their products!  

mothers day fragrance

Monday, 5 March 2018

Our experience of ‘Trying for a Baby’

With people announcing pregnancies left right and centre, and babies being born all around us, I thought it would be nice to reminisce on our experience of trying for a baby. Of course, Millie wasn’t planned - but Mylo was and it was a completely different experience of actively trying to conceive and get pregnant. There are so many tips to help you conceive too but I’m not sure all of them work for everyone. 

We have so many friends who have had difficulties with conception and trying for a baby isn’t actually as easy as it sounds! We know people who have been trying for years to conceive, we know people who have battled with miscarriage after miscarriage, we know people who have taken on IVF, we also know people who accepted that maybe having children wasn’t going to be something they would be able to achieve and we also know same sex couples who have looked into sperm donation to conceive! However, there is always a solution and there’s always a miracle waiting to happen and for lots of people, that’s exactly what happens and a miracle arrives in the form of a beautiful baby. But just what are the options for those who struggle? Well, there is, as mentioned, IVF, surrogacy and adoption but there’s lots of questions that come with those forms of conception too - Just how expensive will IVF be? How much does it cost to go to a sperm bank? Will I be able to have children after a miscarriage? If you’re looking at any of these options, it’s good to know all of the ins and outs and knowing what is available can really help ease the situation. Read more about all of the different options here.

Luckily for us, we had no problems when it came to trying for a baby, we had discussed when the best time would be for us to have another and we agreed that we’d like Millie to be in school so that I could have some 1 on 1 time with the baby once he arrived. It also meant that Millie was old enough to know what was going on which has made a huge difference now that Mylo is here. So, we actively started trying in August 2016, I had come off the pill in June to make sure that my periods were regular and that I could track ovulation etc if needed. We had figured it would take us a good couple of months to actually get pregnant and so set to it but not having our hearts set on getting the deed done right away. Realistically, I wanted to have a summer baby, around July/August time meaning that Millie would be off school and wouldn’t be effected by the sleepless nights and then she would return to school in September and I’d have nearly a full year off work... However, it didn’t quite work like that.

To our surprise, towards the end of August/Start of September, I was showing signs of pregnancy - sore boobs, nausea and just a constant bloated feeling. I brushed it off for a week or so and then my boobs just became so painful that I knew I had to take a test. I wasn’t really expecting anything and so I did a test - actually filming it to show Adam and some close friends and to my absolute delight, it came back positive. After just 4 weeks of trying, we fell pregnant and I just couldn’t believe it! 

10 months down the line, we have a beautiful baby boy and a very loving big sister! We are so grateful that it happened so quickly for us as like I said, we know so many people that struggle to conceive or have had to look into donors or adoption and so along with this, we know that we have to take contraception after having children very seriously because we’re super compatible and I don’t think we could handle baby number 3.... 

Could we?! 
(Post in collaboration with