Monday, 30 November 2015

The #SecretStylist Bloggers Secret Santa With House Of Fraser

Ottoman Hands Bracelet Christmas

Now that I work from home, one of the aspects of working in an office that I miss the most is the tradition of Secret Santa. It was something that I always looked forward to and I was one of those people who put quite a bit of thought into it even though it was only a little token Christmas present for us to exchange at our Christmas night out. Give me a budget and I go to town, quite literally, most of the time I do in fact hop on a train to town to see what I can find for the chosen budget. So I was really happy to receive an email at the end of October inviting me to take part in the #SecretStylist Bloggers Secret Santa with House Of Fraser this year.

With a budget of £30 in hand and free reign of the jewellery department, each of us was tasked with buying for another blogger and I was given Natalie at Le Blow who I really hope liked what I chose for her and was told that my Secret Santa would be picking my piece of jewellery ready to be sent out to me soon. Breaking all normal Secret Santa rules I obviously had to open it well before Christmas and even before the month of December to take photographs and write this post but it made for such a lovely surprise.

Secret Santa Jewellery Idea

My Secret Santa honestly couldn't have picked something more perfect for me. Not only is teal my very favourite colour (whoever selected this did some fantastic research on my blog to find that one out) but they also nailed my typical jewellery aesthetic; something not too flashy or large with a bit of a dainty touch to it too. I absolutely adore the hammered gold detailing and just how adorable is the little pouch and box that it came in too? Job definitely well done Secret Santa!

Today's post also marks the first of my festive posts as tomorrow I am attempting my first year of Blogmas. As someone who normally only posts three times a week, on Wednesday's, Friday's and Sunday's, the idea of posting every single day in the run up to Christmas Day is a little daunting but I really can't wait to get writing. I've already written a couple of posts and I'm so happy with the way that they're starting to take shape. If you are also attempting Blogmas this year be sure to let me know below.

Are you a fan of Secret Santa gifting? If so, who are you buying for this year? And how beautiful is this Ottoman Hands bracelet?


Sunday, 29 November 2015

My Favourite Cyber Weekend Discounts, Deals & All The Codes You Need To Get Saving

Cyber Weekend Discount Codes & Deals 2015

I don't know about you but the amount of Black Friday/Cyber Weekend discounts and deals that I've seen online since Friday morning have been a little overwhelming to say the least. So I've scoured the net this weekend, so you don't have to, and found some of the biggest and best discounts, deals and codes for you to use if you so wish. I've also picked out some of favourite bargains, most of which have absolutely incredible savings and here they are;

Origins Black Friday Super Set Was £112 Now £55 - Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream EDT 50ml Was £52 Now £41.60 - Coco & Cleo Rose Gold Paramour Oval Bangle Was £8 Now £4.80 - Topshop Tassel Saddle Bag Was £30 Now £20 - Moschino Toy EDT Spray (50ml) Was £80 Now £40 (With additional 10% off now £36) - Models Own Colour Chrome Collection Were £5 Now £2.50 - ghd V Gold Series Classic Styler And Air Ultimate Styling Bundle (Includes Heat Protect Spray And Ceramic Brush) Was £258.45 Now £150 - La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+] & Serozinc Spray Duo Bundle Was £24 Now £12 (With additional 10% off now £10.80) - New Look Black Pom Pom Two Part Shoes Were £17.99 Now £10.79

As it's Cyber Weekend mostly all of the codes and discounts expire tomorrow night at midnight so be sure to get your orders in before then to take advantage of them whilst they're still on. I have a feeling that some of these codes might be handy if you're making a purchase at some point today or tomorrow. And don't forget to check out my post dedicated to the best Black Friday beauty deals on Look Fantastic either.

All Saints - 30% off online (with the code CYBER) and in-store
ASOS - 20% off everything (with the code CYBER)
Benefit - 15% off online (with the code BLACK15)
The Body Shop - 40% off online (with the code 14670 and FREE DELIVERY) and in-store
Boots - 15% off selected luxury fragrance gift sets as well as Black Friday specials on all weekend
Burt's Bees - 20% off online (with the code BBSAVE15)
Coast - 20% off jewellery, accessories and shoes and 40% off all coats
Coco and Cleo - 40% off online (with the code CYBER40)
Chisholm Hunter - 20% off online (with FREE DELIVERY) and in-store, including sale items
Dahlia - 20% off everything
Dorothy Perkins - Up to 50% off online and up to 30% off in-store
Escentual - 10% off everything (with the code BLACK10) and at least 50% off their Black Friday specials
H&M - Up to 25% off everything
House Of Fraser - Up to 50% off online and in-store
John Lewis - Price matching competitors
Jurlique - 20% off excluding Christmas gift sets (with the code BF15)
Lily Rose Co. - 10% off orders of £10 (with the code 10OFF), 15% off orders of £15 (with the code 15OFF), 20% off orders of £20 (with the code 20OFF), 25% off orders of £20 (with the code 25OFF)
Marks & Spencer - 50% off beauty gifts and fragrance, 30% off selected nightwear, lingerie and partywear
Miss Selfridge - Up to 50% off online and in-store
Models Own - 50% off everything online and in all bottleshops
Monki - 25% off all coats online - 30% off all bags (with the code BLACKFRIDAY)
New Look - Up to 50% off selected lines
Office - 20% off online (with the code SNOW and FREE DELIVERY)
River Island - Up to 50% off selected lines
Selfridges - Up to 20% off online (with the code SELFCCE)
Sunglasses Shop - 25% off online (with the code 25GIFT)
Timeless Candles - 20% off online (with the code GIFT20)
Topshop - Up to 50% off selected lines
Whistles - 30% off everything online
Zara - 20% off selected lines

What have you thought of the Black Friday/Cyber Weeekend deals and discounts this year? Have you bought anything? If so, what did you treat yourself or others to? And what do you think of my picks above?


Friday, 27 November 2015

The Best Black Friday Beauty Deals On Look Fantastic

Black Friday Beauty Look Fantastic

Today is the day that many of us shopaholics and bargain hunters have been waiting for all year; Black Friday! And I have some incredible discounts, deals and codes to share with you, both in today's post which is dedicated to the brilliant beauty deals available on Look Fantastic and in Sunday's post which will be a round-up of the best savings both online and in-store. So if you've been looking to make a start to your Christmas shopping or feel like treating yourself to a couple of pieces, now is definitely the time.

All of the products featured in today's post are ones which have spectacular savings on them this Black Friday and Cyber Weekend at Look Fantastic and here are those very discounts;

A £110 saving on the exclusive and limited edition 450ml Eve Lom Cleanser (was £250, now £140)
After trying the Eve Lom Cleanser when it was included in the August Look Fantastic beauty box I immediately understood why it was as lauded and celebrated as it is. I also understood why the price tag was quite as high as it is but thanks to the Black Friday savings you can purchase a limited edition 450ml Eve Lom cleanser with a £110 saving. So if you or someone you know is a big fan of Eve Lom but not so much the usual price, this is the time to buy.

3 for 2 across the entire Amazing Cosmetics range 
If you haven't yet tried the Amazing Cosmetics Concealer you are seriously missing out. I'm actually going to be reviewing it in full in the New Year but I can tell you right now that it's one of the best concealers I've ever used and I'm quite fussy when it comes to concealers. If you're looking to really cover something, from rosacea to dark circles to broken capiliaries or all of the issues combined, you really need to give this creamy full coverage concealer a try.

3 for 2 across the entire GlamGlow range 
GlamGlow is a brand that is constantly raved out by bloggers and beauty lovers alike and for good reason. I've only tried their youth mud face mask thanks to the little sample I have of it and it was absolutely incredible. I keep saying that I'll need to invest in a couple of their masks so this might be the time for me to do so.

35% off the Real Techniques Core Collection and 3 for 2 across the rest of the Real Techniques range
Ask anyone who has even a slight interest in beauty what their favourite budget make-up brush range is and I've got a feeling that they'll say Real Techniques. Not only are they a great price (which gets even better thanks to the 3 for 2) but the quality really is sensational. If you've not yet jumped aboard the Real Techniques bandwagon I would seriously recommend taking advantage of the saving on the Core Collection as this includes one of my favourite brushes of all time; the buffing brush. And the Miracle Complexion Sponge is that good that I've happily repurchased it.

3 for 2 across the entire La Roche-Posay range 
If you've been reading Ellis Tuesday for a little while now then you will probably be more than aware of how much I adore La Roche-Posay. I've featured them time and time again and have been thoroughly impressed with each and every product of theirs that I've used. If you want to see my thoughts on them as well as the rest of the beauty reviews that I've done over the years be sure to check out my Product Directory. And why not take advantage of the fantastic 3 for 2 and treat yourself to a couple of LRP products that you've been meaning to try. I can't recommend the Effaclar Duo + or Serozinc highly enough and I look forward to putting the brand new Effaclar K+ to the test too.

3 for 2 across the entire Tangle Teezer range 
One of my beauty must haves is my Tangle Teezer or should I say my collection of Tangle Teezers. The Aqua Splashes are brilliant for detangling mid shower, the originals, such as the purple crush one included in today's post, work fantastically and I have a compact styler in each of my main handbags they're that good. I also think that Tangle Teezers make for a perfect gift especially if you know someone who struggles to keep their hair tangle free normally. Who wouldn't want to unwrap the Lulu Guinness Compact Styler or the new Twinkle edition.

Black Friday Beauty Deals Uk

And as if that wasn't exciting enough, if you use the code LFBLACK you'll receive an unbelievable 20% off all of these products too. And many of these products and brands aren't regularly discounted or reduced so I would certainly take advantage while they are.

All offers will be running across Black Friday and Cyber Weekend, meaning that they will end at midnight on Cyber Monday.

Have you been looking forward to Black Friday and Cyber Weekend? What do you think of the beauty deals available at Look Fantastic? Have you tried any of the products or ranges that are featured in today's post? And what will you be treating yourself or others to this big shopping weekend?

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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Sharing The Blog Love This November

Blogger Recommends Other Blogs To Read

It's that time again where I share ten of my favourite blog posts from the month that has passed and here they are today. Look out for a couple of festive related ones too. I'm already looking forward to the excitement that is Blogmas and reading lots of Christmassy posts next month. Who's attempting Blogmas this year? I've just started planning out each of my 24 posts and I can't wait to start writing them but as someone who normally only posts three times a week I have no idea how I will get on but let's see how it goes.

5 Killer Things To Buy In November - It's rare to see a 'favourites' post pop up where I think 'okay so I'm going to need to pick up every single product in this' but that's exactly what happened with this post. Jaye's picks are absolutely fantastic and they are products that I've been lusting after for some time now. I really need to finally get around to treating myself to some of them soon, particularly the gorgeous Charlotte Tilburry berry shade and what sounds like the dreamy Japanese Camellia Cream from The Body Shop.

Dear Non-Blogger; Why Being A Blogger Isn't Always As It Seems... - Before starting Ellis Tuesday I myself was obsessed with reading blogs and seeing what my favourite bloggers got up to on Instagram and Twitter. It still hasn't quite sunk in that people now do that when it comes to me and my blog. Hayley's post on what blogging can really entail (sitting in our pyjama's with our hair in a top knot most days, keeping some Instagram-worthy shots ready for days like that and attempting to take several outfit post photos in one day) is so relatable both as a blogger and a non-blogger and definitely worth a read if you're a fan of blogging.

Festive Fairisles - Paula's blog is one that I only just discovered this month and boy am I glad that I did. I've spent most of the past week or so catching up with some of her best posts as well as her latest ones and this outfit one is just fantastic. Anyone who can make fairisle print look chic and fashionable is definitely one to watch in my opinion.

Tiger Christmas - Tiger is one of my favourite shops to pop into for a good browse and I normally always leave with some adorable little item (or several). However, saying that, I actually haven't made a trip to my local Tiger store since they got their Christmas range in and that's where Charlotte's post certainly came in handy. I'm only a little bit jealous (jealous Ellis) that she was given the fabulous task of doing a Christmas shopping spree, I promise. Hehe.

Jo Malone London Advent Calendar - Every year bigger and better beauty advent calendars hit the market and every year I opt for one that's in or around £30 but that doesn't mean that I can't live vicariously through other bloggers choices. Danielle picked up one of the best beauty advent calendars I've ever seen this year; the Jo Malone London Advent Calendar. Now how stunning does it look? I can't wait to see what's behind each door.

The Weird Things Beauty Bloggers Do - Talk about a blog post summing someone up to a tee. Whilst I do write about a mix of fashion, lifestyle and entertainment, beauty is where it all began in terms of me starting Ellis Tuesday and it's something that pops up on here pretty frequently, to say the least. Adrienne's ten 'weird things beauty bloggers do' is just brilliant. How many of these do you do?

London: Fashion Markets - Kirsten's London posts have made for some fantastic reading and her last in the series is dedicated to all things fashion with a sprinkling of food thrown in for good measure. To see the Liberty in Fashion exhibition without physically having to leave the house is why I love reading blogs as much as I do. You never know what you're going to see next and it's great to experience things through someone else's perspective too.

So what blogs and blog posts have you really enjoyed reading this month? Are there any blogs that you've discovered recently that you would like to share? And what blog posts do you have planned for the upcoming month/months? Also, does anyone have any top Blogmas tips for someone like myself who's never attempted it before?

Sunday, 22 November 2015

My Partylite Christmas Candle Giveaway

Partylite Christmas Giveaway

After the success of my Partylite Halloween Candle Giveaway back in October (a huge congratulations once again to Sophie who won those Halloween goodies), I'm back with another fantastic Partylite giveaway and this time it's Christmas related. Now who wouldn't want to win some festive pieces to get them in the mood for Christmas?

Don't forget that I also have my Urban Decay Naked Palettes giveaway currently running, which ends a week today at midnight, if you fancy entering that as well.

The lucky winner of this particular giveaway will win everything included in today's post so I may as well give you my first impressions on the pieces that make up the Christmas candle bundle*. 

Christmas Candle Giveaway

First up is the ReminiScent Scented Mini Jar Candle Trio. These are the three candles that you can see in green, red and white which are housed in stunning glass snowflake jars. There's Emerald Balsam, the green candle, which smells exactly like a pine Christmas tree. This is the perfect scent if, like me, you've got a pretend Christmas tree this year as it immediately fills the room with that special smell of real Christmas trees. Then there's Crimson Berry, the red candle. This has a gorgeous blend of festive spice, a spot of caramel and fruity berries. And finally, my favourite of the three, the white candle; Iced Snowberries. If you're a vanilla or winter berry fan then this will be the one for you. Each mini jar has a burn time of between 20-30 hours which is absolutely fantastic.

As I mentioned, I'm a big big fan of the Iced Snowberries fragrance so I was over the moon when I found out that six Iced Snowberries votive candles were included in my Partylite bundle and it means even more vanilla-berry goodness for the winner too. Each of the votive candles last between 8-11 hours.

Next up are the red, gold and silver Snowflakes tealight holders. And whilst these are obviously designed for holding tealight candles, I've popped a couple of the votives in with no problem at all. I really adore the snowflake design and I don't know about you but despite being a massive (yes massive) fan of Christmas, I like to put up all of my Christmas decorations on December 1st and no earlier than that. If stuff is up for too long it kind of ruins the magic of it for me so the fact that these have a snowflake design, which isn't overtly Christmassy, means that I can proudly start putting these on show as soon as the Winter months begin to roll in.

And last but certainly not least, the showstopper piece, the Enchanted Woodland Votive Hurricane. It's such a special piece that I'll be keeping it out all year round. The cylinder allows for such a beautiful design to be projected out of it when it's lit in the dark. 

Partylite Christmas Candles

So what do you need to do to be in with a chance of winning this fantastic Christmas bundle from Partylite? Well it's as easy as filling in the Rafflecopter entry form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And here are the rules:
This giveaway is open to UK residents only.
There will be one winner.
There are three mandatory entries: you must be following Ellis Tuesday on Bloglovin' (link here), visit Partylite on Facebook (link here) and leave a comment.
For additional entries you can follow me on Twitter (link here), follow me on Instagram (link here), follow Partylite on Instagram (link here), follow me on Pinterest (link here), follow Partylite on Pinterest (link here) and tweet about the giveaway.
The giveaway will run for exactly three weeks, so it will end on Sunday 13th of December at midnight.
The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter. The winner will then have 48 hours to send me over their details or I will pick another winner. The prize will then be issued by Partylite.

Best of luck to everyone who is planning on entering! What do you think of the Christmas and festive range that Partylite have to offer this year? Which candle or scent sounds like it could be right up your street? And are you excited about Christmas yet?


Friday, 20 November 2015

Degustabox: October Box (With Exclusive £6 Off Discount Code)

Degustabox 2015 Food Review Blog

It's that time of the month again where I share my thoughts on this month's Degustabox. As with every Degustabox review that I do, I have a fantastic and exclusive discount code for you to use to take a massive £6 off (in previous months it had been £3 off) the £12.99 price tag. All you have to do is enter the code BLDEG15 when you register. 

So what exactly does the October box comprise of, well let's see;

Degustabox Discount Code 2015

This month's box definitely feels like a snack friendly box so if you're anything like me and are constantly grazing on snacks throughout the day (and night) I have a feeling that you will like most of the contents in this month's box. And unlike some of the snacks that I tend to reach for straight away (chocolate, crisps, etc.), the snacks in the October Degustabox are definitely significantly healthier. 

First up are the Snack Organisation rice crackers which are absolutely incredible. They were that good that I quickly demolished the entire pack in one day. Then we have the Liberation oven baked salted peanuts and cashews which again were fantastic and so tasty. The Sweet Paprika and Sour Cream & Onion Chip Strips are equally brilliant as are the freeze dried apricots. The Nudie Snacks Coconut Chips are a great alternative to crisps and you really have to taste them for yourself. My brother, who's a little obsessed with all things coconut at the moment, has already devoured these. And if you're looking for a quick and easy lunch to make I would definitely recommend the Kabuto noodles. They really do taste far superior to the likes of Pot Noodle and other noodle based brands. Then there are the 9 Bar's which are great for those who want to eat healthily whilst still being able to get their snack on and the really refreshing Coconut-Lime lemonade which I would certainly purchase again in the future.

And much like every other Degustabox that I've had the pleasure of trying in the past, there are some great products to add to your cupboards for when you have no idea what to have for dinner. For all things pasta related the Cirio pieces are always fantastic, having tried some of their range out in the past thanks to Degustabox and if you like a bit of spice or a good curry then the Geeta's pieces are ideal and incredibly flavoursome. 

If you happened to read my review of the latest Look Fantastic Beauty Box (it went live on Wednesday there), then you will have seen me talk quite a bit about brand repetition when it comes to beauty boxes. Well unfortunately it seems that the Degustabox is going down a bit of a similar route. First of all the Kabuto noodles appeared in the February Healthy box (review here) and 9 Bar also appeared in the May box (review here). However, saying that, I am still really optimistic about next month's box, especially as it is a festive Christmas box. This means that I am already counting down the days until it is delivered. Hehe.

So what do you think of this month's box? Have you tried any of the products featured in September's box before?


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Look Fantastic Beauty Box No.2

Look Fantastic Beauty Box Review 2015

It's the second of the newly designed Look Fantastic beauty boxes and again, I can't wait to share my thoughts on it with you.

First of all, apologies that for some reason the right hand side of the next photograph is in the shadows. Who else isn't exactly a fan of the dull days and early nights, especially when it comes to trying to take blog photographs, that the Winter brings? And does anyone have any suggestions on how to combat this?

Look Fantastic Beauty Box

Back to the beauty box itself. I was incredibly happy to see an Ole Henriksen product included in this month's box. Ever since trying the Invigorating Night Creme a few months ago (review here), I've been a little bit obsessed with the brand. I even have another Ole review in the works which I can't wait to share with you. This foaming milk cleanser is so soft and lightweight on the skin.

The other brands on the other hand, well I'm certainly starting to notice a bit of a pattern with them when it comes to beauty boxes recently. That's not to say anything particularly negative about the brands or the products themselves but the ones included are starting to get a little repetitive for my liking. But I'll get back to the products themselves.

Whilst I'm not sure if I could ever pull off a bright red lip, the Bellapiere lipstick is incredibly creamy and doesn't appear to be too drying on the lips either. The guava shower gel from Korres smells absolutely incredible. I'm trying my best to keep this little travel size for the next time I'm taking a trip somewhere as it really is the perfect size for travel. I've tried the original Dr Paw Paw balm and was pleasantly surprised when I saw that this one was tinted. It really gives a lovely hint of colour to the lips or alternatively, the cheeks. And the REN cream has really won me over. It's so rich and creamy and has worked particularly well on my dry and dehydrated Winter skin, which is always impressive for products to do. I've not yet tried the Kebelo mask but I did enjoy using the clarifying shampoo that I received in the July #LFBeautyBox so I have high hopes.

Overall I do like the products that have been included in this month's box but it's just a little offputting when you first open up the box to be met by brands that appear to make an appearance every few boxes. I do, however, have really high hopes for next month's box, especially as it's the December box which I'm hoping will mean that it has a bit of a festive touch to it.

What do you think of this month's Look Fantastic box? Are you subscribed to any beauty boxes? If so, what is the best product that you have ever received in one of them? And do you think that products in some beauty boxes are starting to become a little predictable?


Sunday, 15 November 2015

Finding My Dream Faux Fur Collared Coat

New Look Winter Fashion 2015

Every year when the influx of Winter coats and jackets hit the High Street I fall head over heels in love with one or several with a faux fur collar. However, the coats and jackets that they regularly get attached to are ones that seriously do not work for my shape. And for that reason I tend to just buy the same style each year but in a different colour. I'd pretty much given up all hope of ever having a faux fur collar grace my lapel but a chance trip to New Look changed all that. 

For some reason I never even thought of adding a collar on top of a separate item of clothing but it appears that this is a bit of a High Street fashion trend this year so I took full advantage and snapped up a gorgeous rust coloured one. And a couple of rails over I spotted the Winter coat of my dreams. Not only did it have the ability for it to be cinched it in at the waist, which is a must for me but it was also in my dream colour and at a fantastic price point. I'm really loving plum and burgundy shades at the moment, despite not ever owning anything in that kind of colour until very recently. If you saw last week's 48 Hours in Denim post then you will have seen my plum pair of Wonderfit jeans already, which you should be able to spot in today's post and since buying them I've been a little enamoured with the shade.

New Look Winter Coat Blogger

And what really won me over about layering a faux fur collar over a separate piece was the fact that I could do so for under £40. And unlike the rest of my Winter coats and jackets this is a lot lighter which means that it will be perfect for those days when I know I'm going to be indoors (did someone say Christmas shopping?) or when it's not bitter cold outside.

New Look Burgundy

There you have it, my own customised Winter coat complete with lovely faux fur collar, which I must add provides so much warmth and cosiness. I also really like the colour of it against my auburn hair. What do we think?

What kind of Winter coat or jacket will you be wearing over the colder months this year? And have you enjoyed another outfit/fashion based post from me?


Friday, 13 November 2015

My Orlando, Florida Travel Tips: Accommodation Pros & Cons

Orlando Florida Accommodation Pros and Cons

In September, for my Travel Tips post dedicated to planning a holiday to Orlando, Florida (or the US more generally) from the very beginning, I said that I would be dedicating an entire blog post to the pros and cons of each type of accommodation widely available to holidaymakers and this is that post.

As always, if you have any questions or queries that you want to send my way please do so as there's nothing I love talking about more than Orlando, Florida. So let's get started!


Walt Disney World Accommodation Pros and Cons


  • Extended theme park hours (aka. Extra Magic Hours)
  • The Disney Dining Plan(s) *I'll be doing a full post on this in the New Year*
  • Complimentary resort transportation and parking
  • Complimentary Magic Bands - Okay, so every time I see one of these it instantly makes me smile for some reason. Your personalised Magic Band, which you can have in a colour of your choice and with your own name on it, allows you to access the theme parks, your hotel room, make payments on Disney property and more. *I might actually do a full post on what makes Disney stand out in terms of complimentary bonuses along with the Disney Dining Plan(s) post. Let me know what you think.*
  • Complimentary Airport Service (aka. Disney's Magical Express) - Normally when we arrive at MCO (Orlando International Airport) after a nine hour flight we then have to wait for our luggage at baggage claim, then head over the road to collect our car rental after what is normally a pretty lengthy queue and after that my dad then has to get to grips with driving on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car before making our way to the villa. Disney's Magical Express removes all of that added time and inconvenience. Your bags are collected from baggage claim on your behalf and meet you at your hotel room and you hop straight onto the Magical Express to get you there.

  • The price - There's no doubt about it, you can get a lot more for your money in terms of space outside Disney as the Disney experience itself definitely comes at a price but for some it will be more than worth the money. It really is dependent on personal preference as to which type of accommodation you choose but hopefully today's post will give some guidance as to what to expect at each kind.
  • The difficulty of travelling offsite - It's basically in Disney's best interest for you to remain onsite and for some there might not be much reason to leave anyway as practically everything that you need (food, entertainment, shopping, the list goes on really) is catered for you there. But for those who want to visit other theme parks, spend a day or a few at the malls or explore Orlando more generally, it can be tricky to get transportation to take you off Disney property. If you don't have a car it can be a bit of waiting game for transportation and if you're planning on leaving Disney property quite frequently it's something worth noting.

Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando Accommodation Pros and Cons


  • Early admission to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter - If part of the reason that you booked your holiday to Orlando was to visit The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter then you'll be happy to know that a stay on Universal property equates to an hour of early admission each day to this part of the park. This is exclusive to guests staying on Universal Orlando property so it should be considerably less busy and easier for you to take in the magical sights.
  • Universal Express Unlimited Ride Access - Depending on the hotel that you stay at (it is included if you stay at either the Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel or Loews Royal Pacific Resort) you can skip the regular lines for free. Now that almost sounds too good to be true and could be a real asset to your stay.
  • Complimentary transportation not just confined to within Universal property - An added bonus of staying on Universal property is the fact that not only do you get complimentary transportation to both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, as well as CityWalk, you also get complimentary transportation to Wet 'n Wild, SeaWorld and Aquatica.
  • Room only - Now again, depending on what you're wanting from your Orlando, Florida holiday this might be something that's actually a pro for you but for me a hotel being room only isn't ideal. It also makes it that bit more difficult to get away from the crowds and relax as even if you take a day to chill by the pool it will be pretty crowded there too.


Orlando Florida Accommodation Pros and Cons


  • Free shuttles to the theme parks - Most hotels and I'm making a couple of sweeping generalisations when it comes to hotels but most really do operate in the same way in Orlando, offer free shuttles to the main theme parks. This is definitely an added bonus especially for those who aren't renting a car.
  • Proximity to tourist areas - If you want to be right in the heart of the tourist areas I'd certainly recommend booking into a hotel on or in close proximity to International Drive. For a full post dedicated to I-Drive (click here). This means that you're minutes away from, if not within walking distance from, restaurants, shops, entertainment and more.
  • The amenities - Depending on the hotel that you stay at there will obviously be different amenities but here are just a few that exist within the Orlando area; lazy rivers, water park-style slides, a bridge crossing (as pictured) and so much more. 
  • Room only - Again, like most of the resorts as well, room only could be a pro or a con depending on your preference.


Orlando Florida Villa Pros and Cons

  • Space - This is what sells us on a villa every time. The amount of space that you get for your money is unreal! The only negative is that when you get home your house no matter how large it is will basically feel like a shoe box. Hehe.
  • Privacy and Seclusion - Most villas are located around 5-15 minutes from Disney which means that they are in more secluded areas and communities. You can even stay at villas situated in gated communities which gives you that extra level of seclusion and privacy.
  • Extra Amenities - Most villas are part of communities and what I mean by that is the fact that they share communal areas such as tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, large swimming pools, children's play areas and even clubhouses which can often house gyms, games rooms and even restaurants and cafes. Whenever we've stayed we've made good use of these amenities, particularly in the evenings when it's cooled down a little. I do not recommend playing a rigorous game of tennis in the middle of the day in the Floridian heat unless you want to end up ready to pass out! 
  • Your own pool - Most villas come with their own pool and if that's something high up your list of priorities for your Orlando vacation then a villa is your best bet. Most villa owners offer pool heating, for an additional cost and some even have slides, water features and hot tubs. 
  • Value For Money - As I mentioned earlier, staying at a resort or even a hotel can mount up costs pretty quickly. Depending on the number of you staying this can be the most affordable option, even though you might not initially think so. I went into a bit more detail about this in that Planning The Holiday From The Very Beginning post
  • Self Catering: I suppose depending on your own personal preferences this could be a pro or a con (it's definitely a pro for me and my family as I'm a picky eater with IBS and my brother has Crohn's Disease so we really need to watch what we eat) but if you don't want to be cooking on your holiday or finding places to eat on a frequent basis this could be a definite con for you. This also means that you basically have to buy everything that you need whilst you're there which results in quite a few trips to the local supermarkets to buy everything from groceries to toilet paper.
  • A car is a bit of a necessity - If you're not renting a car staying at a villa might not be the smartest move. They are almost always a distance away from tourist areas and getting there from the airport can be a bit of a trip even for experienced Orlando-goers. If you don't have a car you could go down the taxi/Uber route but I can imagine that the money would soon rack up doing it that way.
  • Most villas located a good distance away from the heart of Orlando - Depending on traffic of course, you can often spend about 30 minutes (or even an hour in some cases) driving from your villa to places like International Drive, Universal and several of the malls. It's worth noting if you plan on spending a lot of time in these areas as the time spent sitting in the car might not be worth it if you're planning a lot of days and nights in touristy areas.
So there you have it, my biggest accommodation pros and cons. Next month's Orlando, Florida Travel Tips post will be dedicated to Christmas (a bit like the October post was dedicated to Halloween) and I already can't wait to research what Orlando and some of the theme parks have up their sleeves this festive season.

Have you ever stayed in Orlando? If so, what type of accommodation did you go for? And where would you like to stay in Orlando on your current budget and if money was no option when it comes to the choices above?


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Putting The L'Oreal Steampod 2.0 To The Test

L'Oreal Steampod Review

Hair straighteners have been my biggest beauty must-have for as long as I can really remember. During my teenage years I would straighten my hair several times a day and wouldn't be happy if I found a kink or a wave at any point during that day. Do you ever look back on those teenage years and think what on earth was I thinking? Well I so often do and as a result my hair lost all of it's bounce and volume for quite some time, which is why I now use heat on my hair much more sparingly. So now when I do choose to straighten my hair I want to do so whilst doing the least amount of damage and that's where the L'Oreal Steampod 2.0* comes into play.

My hair is naturally curly but depending on how long it is or how often I apply heat to it, my curls can drop or end up as a ball of frizz. This meant I was especially intrigued to see how the Steampod would deal with my hair and what difference it would make to the way I straighten it.

L'Oreal Steampod 2.0 Hair Straighteners

Let's start by looking at the product itself before I go on to show you my straightened hair. Compared to other straighteners that I've used over the years, the Steampod is significantly bigger and heavier than any I've personally owned but that is certainly for good reason. First of all it comes with an attached steam 'pod' (hence the name), that you fill up with water to generate said steam. It also has a built in comb which certainly comes in handy if, like me, you have hair that seems to tangle and knot within seconds of it being brushed. The only negative of both of these additions to the hair straightening system is the fact that this means it's not the easiest of products to travel with, if you plan on doing so. It's not impossible but it's definitely bulkier and a little heavier than taking a pair of ghd stylers with you, for example. For me the travel aspect isn't really an issue at all as I have a feeling that the Steampod will be a system that I use to completely straighten my hair after washing and drying it and then on the days that follow I would probably just top up any wavy areas with my usual pair of ghds.

Hair Straightened with steam

What really surprised me when I ran these through my hair for the first time was the amount of shine that it gave my hair. I've also never been able to get my hair this soft no matter what products or heat I've applied to it before so that instantly wowed me. It really does feel like salon quality at home and I've basically been stroking my hair since I straightened it. Whilst I have a feeling that a lot of that smoothness and shine comes from the steam itself, I did use the Steampod specific products to fully put the system to the test. Depending on your hair type (thick or thin) there is a sensitised cream* which can be applied pre or post heat styling. What it essentially does is protect the hair whilst leaving it smooth, soft and frizz-free and I can certainly attest to that. Then there's the Steampod serum*. The point of that is to enrich and strengthen the hair, as well as protecting it and it even has a blend of avocado, almond and apricot oil.

Another huge plus point for me; the size of the plates. And I'm not talking about dinner plates (can you tell that it's almost dinner-time as I sit here writing this post?) Hehe. As I have quite a lot of hair and it's of a substantial length, I sometimes feel like it takes far too long to completely straighten my hair with slightly thinner plates.

L'Oreal Steampod 2.0 Review

If you like the sounds of the L'Oreal Steampod 2.0 and are looking to treat yourself, or someone else this Christmas, to a new pair of hair straighteners Look Fantastic currently have the Steampod 2.0 with some money off.

What do you think of the L'Oreal Steampod 2.0 system? Are you as impressed with the results as I am? And if you use straighteners yourself on regular basis, which pair are your holy grail ones?

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Monday, 9 November 2015

My Favourite House Of Fraser Christmas Edit

Bridget Sojourner House Of Fraser Christmas
After writing about the John Lewis Christmas Shop on Sunday I am now well and truly in the Christmas spirit and it's safe to say that I've made a significant dent in my Christmas shopping as a result. Over the past couple of days I've been glued to my laptop taking full advantage of online shopping instead of venturing out into the cold and rain. Whilst on the House Of Fraser site I spotted that they had some fantastic edits which highlighted particular gifts and pieces as handpicked by specific individuals and the normal run of the mill Christmas gift guides. And one handpicked edit in particular really caught my eye.

Bridget Sojourner (some of you might remember her from Fabulous Fashionistas which aired earlier in the year on Channel 4) is definitely a woman after my own heart and I now have the fabulous leopard print coat that she's wearing above firmly positioned at the top of my Christmas wishlist thanks to her.

Which House Of Fraser Christmas edit is your favourite? Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? And who's in favour of doing all their shopping from the comfort of their own home as apposed to bracing the weather outside and battling the crowds?


Sunday, 8 November 2015

The John Lewis Christmas Shop

The John Lewis Christmas Shop

Now that the John Lewis Christmas advert has aired (and how touching is it?) it now officially feels like Christmas. Does anyone else use that as a way of determining when to start properly getting into the festive mood? I know that I certainly do.

Christmas is without a doubt my favourite time of the year. I love meticulously planning what gifts I'll be buying my loved ones and picturing their faces when they start unwrapping them. I dust off some Christmas classics in my DVD collection. And there's something about seeing a Christmas tree or going out and looking at Christmas lights decorating the streets that just makes me incredibly happy, so I'm definitely one of those people who gets excited for Christmas months before the big day. As soon as my local John Lewis (it's the Glasgow branch housed in Buchanan Galleries for fellow Glaswegians) I took a trip along, camera in hand to check it out and inevitably get swept up in the Christmas spirit. To say that I was excited is a bit of an understatement and as a result I went a little snap happy so this is quite the photo heavy post. But it was just far too difficult to whittle down photograph after photograph of stunning baubles, glistening lights and decorated trees. 

John Lewis Christmas Gifting

The first area that I made my way to was the gifting area which featured the top 50 gifts as selected by John Lewis this year. I've only really made a start to my Christmas shopping so I was sure to note down a few possible items to come back and look at when I properly dedicate a whole day to shopping up a storm. I also ended up adding quite a few items to my own Christmas wishlist too.

John Lewis Christmas Gifts

There was also a fantastic fashion edit featuring some incredibly exciting designer collaborations and festive party-wear. Forget about Balmain for H&M! It's all about Bruce by Bruce Oldfield and Somerset by Alice Temperley and John Lewis Glasgow is also the only one in Scotland to stock Bruce Oldfield's collection which you just have to check out if you get a chance to.

John Lewis Partywear 2015

It's all about textures and Gatsby inspired pieces, a look that I absolutely adore and I don't think you can get more party and festive season ready than with some 1920's style fashion. I'm also definitely on board with it as one of my favourite colour combinations when it comes to getting dressed up is black and gold.

John Lewis Christmas Party Fashion

Then I took a wander over to the decorations and to say that I was impressed doesn't quite cover it.

John Lewis Christmas Lights

I'm a big fairy light fan and have them dotted around several rooms in the house all year round but seeing the superbly festive strings of lights, showcased like they are here, I just had to purchase the Holly lights (expect to see them appear pretty frequently in my upcoming Blogmas posts) and I had to restrain myself from adding another couple of packs of lights to my basket that night too.

With my Holly lights in tow I made my way to the separately set out trend sections and thought that I would go through each of them individually and share what I simply adored about each of them.


John Lewis Midwinter

The Midwinter collection, like all of this year's collections to be fair, is absolutely gorgeous. If you're a fan of rich and warm tones when it comes to your Christmas decs I have a feeling that this will be the one for you. Think berries, russet, red and sprinkles of gold. And just look at how cute that little fox on the tree is!

John Lewis Christmas Decorations

The selection of baubles in John Lewis really are just out of this world, as you might be able to see and I really did have to restrain myself from adding one after the other to my basket. Our living room isn't really big enough for a full size tree, neither is my bedroom so I don't think I'd be able to fit too many of the spectacular baubles on one of those tiny little trees that we normally have to go for.

John Lewis Baubles

Christmas Dreaming

John Lewis Christmas Dreaming

Christmas Dreaming is the next collection and it's all about childhood memories and recapturing that joyful and playful essence of Christmas. Think adorable cuddly toy decorations and baubles that look like they've been handed down over the years whilst still looking effortlessly fabulous of course.

John Lewis Christmas Children

I couldn't help myself but to let out a little shriek of joy when I spotted all of these little toys in their festive baskets. Can I justify buying a few for myself at the age of 23? Hehe.

Different Perspective

John Lewis Santa

If you're a fan of classic greens and reds when it comes to your Christmas decor then the Different Perspective collection is definitely for you. There's plenty of Santa related decs making it perfect for those who prefer a traditional touch with a fun and contemporary twist. And how fantastic do the little trees from this collection look?

John Lewis' Christmas Shop

Can you tell that I was completely in awe as I made my way around the John Lewis Christmas shop?


John Lewis Boutique

And when I was talking about John Lewis embracing the Gatsby feel above, this is translated spectacularly in the Boutique collection. I absolutely adore the 2015 decoration. It really would make for such a unique decoration or New Year's accompaniment.

John Lewis Boutique

This collection in particular just screamed luxury and opulence at me which I certainly appreciated and the impeccable detailing on each and every piece and the stunning metallic accents had me smiling from ear to ear.

John Lewis Christmas Ornament


John Lewis Christmas Snowdrift

Snowdrift is all about whites, glitter and sparkle, all with a sprinkling of snow. It immediately conjured up images of winter landscapes for me and the first snowfall of the season.

John Lewis Snowdrift

I'm also definitely going to need to treat myself to one of these little guys.


John Lewis Christmas Enchantment

And last but by no means least is the Enchantment collection. It really takes the clean whites of Snowdrift to a whole different level thanks to the spectacular touches of gold and gilding.

John Lewis Decorations 2015

I'm really tempted to buy the diamante encrusted ornament, the one at the bottom left hand side, to hang over my bed this Winter. What do we think? I think it's pretty apparent that I'm going to go a little Christmas crazy very soon, isn't it? Hehe.

Well there you have it; my trip around the John Lewis Christmas Shop.

Christmas Shop John Lewis

Are you a fan of Christmas and the festive period? Have you seen any incredible decorations and trees this year so far? Have you made a start to your Christmas shopping yet? And what were your thoughts on the John Lewis Christmas advert?

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