So a few weeks ago I popped into Wilkos to pick up some new cheap beauty bits. As you all must know by now I'm forever trying out new Essence products as they as super affordable and usually really good quality. Its nice to be able to pick up several products for a couple of pounds each and know that they will work just as good as more pricey versions. Most Essence products I own are really good quality and I have repurchased many for that reason. Unfortunately on my last trip I picked up this little lipstick and I didn't get on with it at all.

I'll start with the pros as this product does have its good points. The first major pro is the price. Essence Cosmetics main selling point is their dirt cheap prices and this lippy is no different. Priced at just £2 is really is a bargain and even if you hated it, for £2 you wouldn't really mind.

Another thing I like about this product is the packaging. Its cute, girly and looks more expensive than it actually is. It makes a nice change from my usual black or dark coloured lipstick cases and it looks pretty in my lipstick holder. 
The last good point about this lipstick is how easily it applies. Its a really creamy smooth lippy that applies to the lips with ease. The consistency is really nice and one I wouldn't mind finding more in some of my more expensive products. Its also very moisturizing and I don't feel like I need to apply a coat of Vaseline after.

And that's about all the nice things I can really say about this product. As much as I hate to say it, I don't ever see my self wearing this lipstick which is such a shame as I thought I would really like how I looked with this glittering princess shade on my lips.

Unfortunately it doesn't really show up all that well. The colour is very faint and its hard to tell you are wearing lipstick at all. The glitter on the other hand is very visible and I feel like i'm wearing lipstick made for a 5 year old. I don't really know what I was expecting when I picked this up as I could clearly see that it had a lot of sparkle in but I guessed it wouldn't be that vivid?
One of the most important things for me when wearing lipstick is how long it lasts. Bar the colour this is one of the things that makes or breaks a new product for me but as I hated how it looked on my lips I didn't wear it long enough for it to wear off. If its anything like the other Essence Lipsticks I've used it will last ages, but the consistency is compleatly different to any of my others and I wouldn't have high expectations for it.

If you are going for the 12 year old 90s kid who has just bought her first Miss Sporty lippy look then this lipstick is for you. Although I imagine someone somewhere could pull this off, that person certainly isn't me and for that reason I would give this lipstick 3/10.

Have you tried this shade? What did you think?

Thanks for reading!


Essence Lipstick #02 Sparkling Romance

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Wishlist | Pink

On Sunday Sean and I were invited down to Fort Dunlop in Birmingham to experience the Super Spa Cinema. I'd never heard of it before but it sounded really fun and not like anything I'd ever done before. For those of you who like me hadn't heard of it, Super Spa Cinema is a really fun event where you watch a film whilst relaxing in a hot tub. They were showing films all over the weekend; Cocktail on Friday, Point Break on Saturday and on Sunday we saw Jaws. I've never actually watched it before so I was looking forward to seeing it!

When we arrived at Fort Dunlop we were greeted and given a drinks token each. We were then sent up to the roof where a bar, surfboard simulator and lots of comfy bean bags awaited us. Being on the roof added such a glamorous touch to the event whilst still maintaining its relaxing beach party vibe. After taking a few photos me and Sean headed over to the surfboard simulator to try our hand at surfing. I've never surfed before or even been on a simulator so needless to say I didn't stay on for too long, Sean on the other hand was quite good!

We then took a few more photos and decided to forfeit our tokens in exchange of a drink. The drinks menu had quite a nice selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks suitable for everyone. I decided to grab a little cocktail which turned my lips blue and then stuck to coke for the rest of the night as I found the cocktails a little pricey. The bar works on a token system, when we arrived we were given one free token which we could exchange for one regular sized drink. You could then purchase any extra tokens for £5 each. After the first drink me and Sean just wanted Pepsi which was priced at a very reasonable £1 for two glasses.

We relaxed on the bean bags for around an hour drinking our drinks and watching the sunset whilst planes flew over head. It was such a nice relaxing evening and a brilliant way to finish off the bank holiday weekend. 

At around half 8 we headed to the other side of the roof to find our hot tub and settle down for the night. We were given a hot tub near the screen and were asked if we would like any glow sticks, of course the answer was yes. The heat on our hot tub was turned up and we dived in. I was really surprised at just how warm the hot tub actually was and I was quite relived to get in and out of the breeze. We played around with the settings for a while, turning on the bubbles and changing the colour of the light in the hot tub. Although everyone was in their beachwear there was a very relaxing non judgmental vibe which was nice as I was a little but nervous as I didn't feel even slightly bikini ready. 

Before long the sun was setting and the film was starting. I cant explain the feeling but it just felt like such a luxury event, watching a film in a hot tub on the roof as the sun went down. As we settled in for the night were asked if we wanted any drinks which would be brought over to us as and when we asked for them. We were asked regularly if we needed anything which was nice as we didn't really want to leave the warmth of the hot tub. Later in the night we were even asked if we wanted pizza as they were putting in an order at Domino's. We didn't fancy it but lots of others enjoyed their glamours hot tub pizza.

Sean loved the film, it wasn't really to my taste, I would have preferred a little chick flick but that wouldn't have really gone with the theme at all. I think something like this would be such a good thing to do for a birthday or even a romantic anniversary. We both had a really good night and would love to go to another event like this again if it was to ever return to Birmingham. Thanks to everyone at Fort Dunlop for such a good evening!

Have you guys ever been to a hot tub cinema event? Would you ever go to one?

Thanks for reading!


Super Spa Cinema Birmingham

Today I'm going to be talking about Balance Me, a brand I haven't heard of until earlier this year when I picked up one of their products as a freebie in a magazine. Balance Me started in 2005 by two sisters who would make their products up in their kitchens before making it big. Their products mainly use natural ingredients and they are against animal testing which is always a bonus in skin care products. 

A few months ago I picked up a travel sized Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash in one of my magazines. I had never heard of the brand before so I was looking forward to testing the product out. The first thing I noticed when I opened the lid was the gorgeous smell. I love pretty smelling products and this face wash contains essential oils and and blended grapefruit so it has a really complex luxurious scent. I cant quite put my finger on the exact smell but its almost spicy, it reminds me of and old English herb garden. 

I also love the consistency of this product. Its not as gloopy as some of my other face washes and it feels really light on my skin. It foams up really quickly and leaves my skin feeling very smooth and soft. I will use this face wash with my face cleansing brush every week or so to get a really deep thorough cleanse. 

One thing I have noticed about using this product is that I really have to keep on top of moisturizing after using. Although it claims to be a hydrating cleanser I feel as though it does dry my skin out. This isn't really too much of a problem as I moisturize daily after cleansing with any product. 

One thing I love about this face wash is that as I mentioned earlier they use mostly natural ingredients, 98.8% natural to be exact. This product doesn't have any parabens or artificial fragrances or colours. I know it sounds silly as I'm only 20, but as i'm getting older my once bright teenage skin is starting to look very tired and i'm really looking to use more natural products to get my skin back into a nice condition.

The only thing I didn't like about this face wash was that it wasn't exfoliating. Although I do feel like I got a good cleanse with this product, I much prefer using exfoliating face washes as I love the feel of my skin after using them. I did use this product with my electronic face brush and the cleanse I got with that was great, but I don't like to use it every day as it can be quite harsh in my skin. Saying that I have enjoyed using this product daily as it is a very gentle soothing face wash.

After using this product for a few months I do think it helped balance my skin and stopped any possible break outs. It smells amazing and I feel very fresh after using it. I'm going to continue using this product until it runs out and after that I don't think I could bring my self to repurchase. Although its a very nice product, its more of a luxury than an essential and to me it just isn't worth £11 for a 50ml size. Overall I would give this face wash a 7/10 as it just wasn't perfect.

Have you tried any products from Balance Me?

Thanks for reading! 


Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash

1. Eat or drink at the Hard Rock Cafe - This one of the main things me and Sean wanted to do when we planned our trip to Amsterdam. We're slowly but surely ticking off the list of Hard Rock Cafes, previously visiting the Barcelona and the London branches. Although we had been to others before we had never actually had a meal there and that was at the top of the to do list! Although it was slightly pricey our meals were delicious and I wouldn't hesitate to dine there again. We each had a burger which was cooked to perfection and was really well presented. If you do make a trip there you have to try a Southern Rock Cocktail. I cant remember whats in it but I know its super strong and really tasty!
2. Go to the Zoo - We went to the zoo on the last day after running out of realistic things to do. We said before we left for Amsterdam that we wouldn't go to the zoo as we have been to so many over the last couple of years but I'm so glad we went. Its around 20 Euros to get in but its a really fun relaxing day out. Theres so much to do that we just couldn't possibly do it all, but we took our time and saw the most important things. I was really happy to find out that they have elephants here and as they are my favourite animal I did spend quite a long time looking at these beautiful creatures. While you are here make sure you take a trip to the aquarium. Its not huge but there's some lovely set ups in there and its a quite a relaxing way to finish the day off.  
3. Visit the famous Sex Museum -  I'm sure you've all heard about the Sex Museum. Most people I've spoken to about Amsterdam say you have to visit the Sex Museum. Its only 4 Euros to get in and it really is a must see. There's tonnes of sex related tat and a fair bit of actual interesting information too. You can do the whole thing in maybe just over an hour so I wouldn't set aside much more time than that to visit it. If you do go make sure you take a photo with the giant penis chair shown above!
4. Take a canal boat trip - There are so many boat trips available in Amsterdam you really are spoiled for choice. Before we went we knew we wanted to take a boat trip but we didn't know just how cheap and how many there were. We decided to go with a company just outside the train station who did the same tour as Thompson's but for around £7 cheaper. Tours usually last around an hour but you can get longer or shorter ones depending on how much time and money you have spare. If you really want a boat trip but are short of cash, the ferry to North Amsterdam is free so that's worth doing if you are running out of Euros.  
5. Grab some drinks at the Ice Bar - Before we went to Amsterdam my cousin said I had to go for drinks at the Ice Bar. I hadn't heard of it before but after a little research Sean and I really wanted to go. It costs 16 Euros to get in and you get 3 drinks included, one in the normal bar and two in the actual Ice Bar. I didn't think that was too pricey considering a beer would cost you 5 Euros in most bars in Amsterdam. When you book your ticket you choose the time you want to get there and usually spend around half an hour in the Ice Bar itself. We spend around 20 minutes in there as it was just too cold to be in there any longer. This isn't somewhere you would visit more than once but I would definitely recommend it to start a night out!

So those were my top 5 things to do in Amsterdam. There's so much to do in this beautiful city and it was really hard to narrow it down to just 5. 

Have you been to any of these places? What do you think should have made the list?

Thanks for reading!


5 Things You Have To Do In Amsterdam

As you probably know by now I am a huge Essence fan; I'm always picking up bits from the collection. I love trying out their range because it's very affordable and usually good quality too. A few weeks ago I popped into Wilkinsons to see what was new and I saw this gorgeous eyeshadow. It's a colour I've been after for a while, although this has a pink undertone. It retails at just £1.60 so I didn't hesitate to buy it and I tried it out for the first time that night.

I have to say I was initially quite disappointed. Although it looks like a good quality eyeshadow it's not very pigmented at all and you have to apply quite a lot of product to build up a decent colour. 
It also doesn't last very long once applied. Even when I used an eyeshadow primer before applying the product it was almost non existent after an hour or so. I've always had really good experiences with Essence products in the past and even though it was extremely cheap, I still had high hopes for it. 

One good thing about this product is how easy it is to apply. It's a very creamy eyeshadow which I love as it applies really smoothly and doesn't create a lot of fallout when applied.
I did also use this as a highlighter under my brow and along my checkbone. Although it didn't last very long I did love the glow it gave me and I will probably stick to using this a just a highlighter in future.

I have quite a few really good quality Essence products that I regularly use and although this product didn't live up to that standard, I still love essence as a brand and will continue to purchase their products. Although it's a pretty colour this eyeshadow just wasn't good enough in my eyes and I would only give it a 3/10.

Have you tried out this product or others from the Essence range? I'd love to hear what your favorites are!

Thanks for reading!

Essence Eyeshadow #09 Raindrops On Roses

Last week whilst having a little browse in Wilko's I came across their own range of bath products. Recently they have upped their game and now sell a nice little selection of bath bombs, shower gels and soaps which come in several different scents. The bath bombs retail at just 95p each and as I'm a huge lover of bath bombs I knew one of them was going to be coming home with me. I opted for the very pretty smelling Passion Fruit & Melon Explosion. I'd never tried any of the Wilkos own range before so I didn't really know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised.

I decided to try it out the next day as I wasn't working and had lots of time to take photos and enjoy lazing in the bath for an hour or so. When I bought the bath bomb I was worried that underneath all the pretty packaging there would be a boring plain white bath fizzer, but to my surprise it was a pretty violet colour. This is also when I really smelt the bath bomb for the first time. It was a very subtle fruity smell that unfortunately didn't stay around for too long after it was compleatly dissolved.
When I popped this little beauty in the bath it fizzed around for ages. I was really surprised at how long it took to fizz out, even some of my more pricey bath bombs didn't last half as long as this one. I love the whole experience of using bath products so this was a huge bonus for me and anyone else who loves watching their bath water slowly bubble up. 

I decided to really make a meal of this and popped a few Cherry Blossom flowers and petals in my bath to make it extra Instagramable! Although it was a fair bit of effort to pull apart all the flowers and very time consuming, I loved bathing in a bath of flowers and I think it would be an amazing way to relax after a hard day. Saying that I wouldn't buy an expensive bouquet for this, maybe just pick up a bunch of reduced flowers on their way out because there's not much you can do with them after this.

After the bath bomb was all fizzed out, I couldn't help but notice how similar it made my bath water look to the LUSH 'Sex Bomb' I used a few weeks back. Both bath bombs turned my bath water a gorgeous deep pink colour although the 'Sex Bomb' gave off a much more vivid pink. Although I cant really compare this bath bomb to the quality of a LUSH one, it would make a good alternative if you dont want to spend £3 or £4 on one product.
One thing I love about this product is that Wilkos sell a whole line of bath products with the same scent. If you like how this bath bomb smells, you can also buy shower gel, body scrub, bubble bath and hand wash in the same scent. They also stock a range of colour matching accessories such as mesh sponges and mini plastic bathtubs to keep all your bits and bobs in. I think this bath bomb and other products from this range would make lovely little gifts.

I don't really have anything bad to say about this product. Although I feel like the scent could be stronger and the colour it turns your bath could be more vivid, for 95p I was really quite impressed with it. If you are after a cheap colourful bath bomb I would definitely recommend picking one of these up. I really enjoyed using this product and I cant wait to try out some of the other scents. I wouldn't hesitate to repurchase this bath bomb and for that reason I would give it 8/10!

Have you tried any of the Wilkos own range?

Thanks for reading!

Wilkos Bargain Bath Bomb

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Wishlist | 17.5.15

A few nights ago me and Sean decided to go for a meal at the Brindley Place Handmade Burger Co. We've been to the ones in the Bullring and Solihull several times and it has become one of our favorite places to eat. We usually get very good service and our meals are always cooked to perfection, so when Sean suggested we go out for dinner, I decided to bring along my camera and review our first time eating at the Brindley Place restaurant.

Price - Handmade Burger isn't the cheapest place to eat out in Birmingham; many pubs do two meals for £10 or a beer and a burger for a fiver, but it's worth it. The burgers average out at about £9 or £10 each depending on what you order and the chips are set at £3.25 each. The drinks however are a very good deal, for £2.70 you can order a 'bottomless' drink that you can refill as many times as you like. I've never drank alcohol here but they only serve beer and wine which tends to be quite pricey. One thing we discovered, unfortunately after we had paid, was that they do a 15% student discount which is doubled to 30% on Mondays!
Service - When we arrived we were seated straight away, near the window as I requested so that we could look out over the canal and watch the boats. After ordering, our food took a little longer that usual to arrive, this could have been due to the burgers we ordered as they weren't made using the regular beef. Once we had finished we pilled all the plates into the middle but it took a very long time for them to be cleared away. This is very usual for Handmade Burger especially as we went on a Sunday night and there were only a handful of customers. Me and Sean both agreed that the staff in the Bullring and the Solihull restaurants are a lot more friendly.

Food/ Drink Quality - Overall the food and drink quality was amazing as usual. The ingredients are always fresh and cooked perfectly. Me and Sean decided to try a 'Jimmy's Farm' burger; the beef is from rare breed, free range beef that has been matured  for 3 weeks. This type of burger is priced at £9.95 and tastes amazing; the caramelized onion is a yummy added bonus. Our burgers were topped with smoked bacon and a gorgeous cheese, both of which only enhanced the overall taste. As usual we had a bowl of onion rings which are the best onion rings ever, the are so sweet and fluffy. I didn't think the chips were as nice as usual but Sean loved his.

Cleanliness - I couldn't fault the cleanliness of the restaurant. The tables, floor and drink area were spotless. I hate being seated in a restaurant to find that my table is still sticky but that wasn't the case here. Unfortunately a little trip to the ladies room ruined all of that. The bins hadn't been emptied and were overloading, as for the stalls, they were just a bit messy. Sean said the men's were perfectly fine.     
Location - Handmade Burger Brindley Place is very central, located just off Broad Street and virtually opposite the ICC. It s very easy to get to as there are many bus stops and taxi ranks near by, it's also about a 15 minute walk from the Bullring. It over looks one of Birmingham's busy canals, which I imagine would be lovely in the summer with the doors open. It is also surrounded by many other bars and restaurants as well as being virtually right next to Birmingham's famous Broad Street.

Overall I really enjoyed my meal and wouldn't hesitate to order one of their 'Jimmy's Farm' burgers again. I always love eating at Handmade Burger and although there were a few things that weren't perfect about that night, it didn't put me off dinning there again. I would rate the overall experience ☆1/2.

I hope your enjoyed reading this restaurant review, I want to start doing this sort of thing more regularly on the blog. I've love to know if you guys have ever eaten at a Handmade Burger Co. What did you think?

Thanks for reading!

Handmade Burger - Brindley Place Birmingham

Just before Christmas I treated myself to some beauty bits from Topshop. I'd never bought anything from their beauty range before but after hearing nothing but good things about it, I wanted to try it out. I picked up a gorgeous lipstick and this pretty little eyeshadow. 
I'd never seen anything like this before let alone owning any similar colours; I knew it had to be mine. It retails at £9 which I thought was quite expensive for a single eyeshadow when you can easily purchase a whole pallet for the same price. Even though I thought it was pricey I couldn't leave it and it came home with me that night to be vigorously tested over the next few months. 

I love this colour, it's such an unusual shade but it's so pretty and I literally I feel like a fairy whenever I'm wearing it. Depending on how it catches in the light it can look pink/ purple/ blue or orange. I know something like that wouldn't be to everyone's taste but I can't get enough of it. I feel like it really suits my skin tone too, although I can see this being a very universal product that would look nice on most complexions. 

One thing I love about this product is how long it lasts. I can do my make up in the afternoon for a night out and it would be still very much intact the next morning if I forgot to take it off. Saying that it is very easy to remove and doesn't stain the skin at all like some eyeshadows. 
It is also a very pigmented product. A little goes a very long way and you don't have to smother your eyelid in product to get a decent result. This also means it's less likely to crease on your eyelid and you wont have to repurchase it every five minutes.

I really love wearing this product, it's a very versatile colour that is wearable all year round. Although it's a little bit pricey it more than makes up for this in how long it's lasts and it's quality. I have gotten so much wear out of it and I would not hesitate to buy it again. Overall I'd give it a 10/10 as I really can't fault it!

Have your tried any of the Topshop beauty range? Let me know what your favorite bits are! 

Thanks for reading!

Topshop Eyeshadow in 'Wax & Wane'

I've enjoyed many holidays in Turkey and lately it has become one of my favorite places to stay. There's so much to do and see in Turkey that I keep going back. Its a beautiful country with a unique culture that could come as a bit of a surprise if you've never been before. I'm no expert but after a few holidays over the years I have a couple of tips that help me have the best possible time. I thought I would share them with you all as its a popular destination especially for us Brits.
I thought I would start with the boring stuff; safety. Turkey has a bit of a bad rep but luckily I've never had any problems. I feel perfectly safe walking around the more touristy towns on my own but I'm always careful and aware of my surroundings. I think it goes without saying you shouldn't go anywhere alone with strangers and if you feel unsafe at any point you should make your way back to your hotel. Another obvious tip is not to carry valuables unless you need to. Although its never happened to me pick pocketing and bag snatching does happen and I'd rather loose a little than all my holiday spends and my passport. Thinking along the same route, don't flash your cash, it can tempt thieves and no one likes a show off. 
If you are British and travelling to Turkey don't convert your money here. You get a much better rate if you change your pounds in Turkey and you can convert smaller amounts. If you don't want to change your money over, pounds are accepted too, in fact I don't think there's any currency they will turn down. Turkey is the only country I've carried, Pounds, Euros and Lira and have been able to spend any of them. 
Although you can spend whatever you like I always feel like I'm getting the best deal when I pay in Lira, just make sure you know exactly what its worth!
Don't be afraid to barter! Whether you're in the market or a regular shop, most places don't have set prices and are happy to haggle with you, I actually think some Turks enjoy it. Just have a price in your head that you are willing to pay and stick to it. Sean and I managed to get an amazing deal on two day trips for just £28, and they both included dinner! Bare in mind this doesn't apply to all shops and don't be afraid to walk away if its more then you want to pay.
When it comes to shopping in Turkey you will be hassled. Its just another part of Turkish culture and a bit of fun. If you genuinely aren't interested in what they have to offer, don't be scared to say no. No one will be offended if you are firm but polite. 
Try new things:
Going on holiday is all about trying new things and going places you've never been before, there's so much to do in Turkey you really are spoilt for choice! 
The first thing I'm going to start with is day trips. You can book excursions with your holiday rep or from a local tour company but they are usually cheaper from the locals and include dinner. Depending on where in Turkey you stay will depend on where you can go. As I've only stayed on the west and in the main tourist areas I can only suggest a couple of things. One of the best places I've ever been in Turkey is Dalyan. Its full of history, has mud baths and a world famous Turtle beach. Another must see if you are in the area is Bodrum Castle. If you don't mind a bit of walking its a great day out and only costs around £7 for a ticket. Make sure you research the area you are staying in before you go and I'm sure you'll find plenty to do!
While your in Turkey you have to try some traditional food. Its not to my taste and honestly I mostly stick to pizza but you have to try everything once. Try and find a Turkish kebab house, they are very different to ours in the UK.
The last thing you should try is Turkish wine. My favorite wine in the whole world is Rose from the Bodrum area. I've never found anything that compares to it.
Learn the language:
I'm not saying you have to be fluent, but learning a few basic words and phrases is always helpful. Most people who work in tourism will speak English but they appreciate the effort. I just think its nice when ordering drinks or buying something in a shop to say please or thank you in their language. The Turks are naturally quite cheeky and love to hear foreigners, especially girls, speaking their own language. There are loads of videos on Youtube which show you the basics.
Enjoy the culture:
I want to finish this post on a positive note. Don't forget you're on holiday in a country that may be very different to yours. Enjoy their culture and way of life. Don't get annoyed when the call to prayer wakes you up early, think of it as the most beautiful wake up call you've ever heard, you'll soon miss it when you're home. 
Don't be sad when you can't have a bacon sandwich in the morning, although I'm sure pork is available somewhere, most people don't eat it and its hard to come by. Look forward to a more healthy week as you will be eating less red meat. 
Talk to the locals, Turkish people are friendly and always want to talk. I met a man in Sarigerme who kept me and dad talking for hours as he just wanted to practice his English. 
Lastly don't forget to try Turkish Cay. Tea drinking in Turkey is just as important as in the UK, its just done slightly differently. A cup of Cay will cost you about a Lira (roughly 30p) and its delicious!

I hope this little guide will come in useful for anyone about to visit this beautiful country. Although it sometimes gets a bad name for itself, Turkey is an amazing country with so much history and some gorgeous beaches. I'm sure I will be back soon!

P.s. They keep their salt and pepper in the opposite pots to us!

Thanks for reading!


Grace's Guide to Turkey

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