The following articles were authored by Helena

NOTW: Christmas Frost

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My attempt at a sparkly gradient for my work Christmas meal! The photos don’t show it too well but I used a Nubar holographic glitter over the top which is my favourite!

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Avon Planet Spa Heavenly Hydration Face Mask

imagel have found myself reaching for the Planet Spa Heavenly Hydration face mask from Avon pretty regularly over the past few months. It doesn’t smell of anything in particular and doesn’t have an exciting face mask colour, but it promises hydrated skin and it definitely delivers on that front! The mask has an olive oil base which is a fantastic moisturiser. The mask glides onto your skin and, after around 15 minutes, leaves your skin feeling unbelievably silky. The smooth and moisturised feeling lasts for a few days after use which I love! I think this should be a winter staple for everyone!

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Macdonald Houston House Hotel

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Last month we spent my birthday weekend at the Macdonald Houston House near Edinburgh. The main building is an impressive 16th century Tower House and the hotel is equipped with a spa, a 2 AA rosette restaurant and a very cosy bar. Although slightly dated, our room was massive, spotlessly clean, with an extremely comfy bed. I was also pleased to find that the room was snug and warm as I really feel the cold, so am a little wary of old buildings!

After checking in, we had a quick explore of the hotel and gardens before I headed off to the spa for a facial. I really do love a facial and as I don’t have them often it was a real treat. The waiting room was lovely and relaxing with scented candles and bubbly spa music and the facial itself was amazing. My therapist was lovely and put me at ease – I am usually a little nervous at the start of a facial as it is a bit weird having someone prodding your face! Within ten minutes I was more relaxed than I had been for months and I think I even drifted off for a while!

With my skin all preened and feeling very soft, we headed to the bar for our dinner. The bar is in a snug room with the thickest walls you’ve ever seen and a roaring log fire to keep it toasty. We both ordered a burger and a glass of wine and continued relaxing. The food was fantastic and just what we needed after the drive down to Edinburgh and the strenuous (!) facial!

Next morning, after the excitement of opening birthday presents was over, we had a hearty breakfast in the restaurant before catching the train into Edinburgh. The train station was just a fifteen minute walk away with regular, direct trains into the city. All day we were looking forward to that evenings dinner! We hadn’t remembered to book the Jeremy Wares restaurant in the hotel in advance so we ended up having to eat incredibly early, I think around quarter to 6, as that was the only slot available when we checked in! There was no way we were going to miss the chance of eating in the 2 AA rosette restaurant – we would have taken any time slot they gave us! The meal was totally worth hurrying back from town. The service was impeccable and food was delicious. Everything was cooked to perfection and we really enjoyed the whole experience.

We’d definitely love to visit the hotel again. It was such a relaxing weekend and we both managed to completely switch off which was nice as we had been so busy for what felt like months beforehand!

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Instagram Round Up #22

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1. Cocktails with mum.
2. Fireworks night.
3. My red velvet birthday cake!
4. Birthday weekend at MacDonald Houston House.
5. Homemade raspberry and white chocolate cake.
6. Christmas time!
7. L’Occitane Cinnamon Spice scented candle.
8. A relaxing Lush bath!
9. The Christmas mug is back!

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Botanicals Calming Lotion Lavender & Tea Tree

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The Botanicals Lavender and Tea Tree body lotion is absolutely gorgeous. It has a beautiful, subtle scent, which on its own would be enough to make me love it, but it is also a great moisturiser. It is really soothing which is down to the aloe vera and keeps my skin feeling hydrated all day. It takes a minute or two to sink in but it worth the wait! The body lotion costs £14.75 for 100ml which is on the pricy side but it really is a fab moisturiser, so if your budget will allow, I would recommend giving it a go!

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Instagram Round Up – NYC Special!

A few weeks ago I got back from a fabulous fortnight in New York. Here is a quick round up of what we got up to….

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1. Brooklyn Bridge
2. Top of the Rock
3. Natural History Museum
4. Market at Grand Central Station
5. Empire State Building
6. Delicious breakfast at Penelope’s
7. View from George Washington Bridge
8 & 9. View from the Empire State Building

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10 & 11. Statue of Liberty
12. View from the pedestal of the statue
13. Concorde
14. The Hudson River at Cold Spring
15. Technically not in New York but cocktails the weekend after we got home!

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Eye of Horus Eyeliner

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Recently, I have been wearing the Eye of Horus Amethyst Eye Pencil fairly regularly. I like to wear colour eyeliners as I find them a lot less scary that coloured eye shadows. The amethyst pencil is dark enough that it isn’t over the top bright but it also has a nice shimmer when it catches the light.
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I like that the pencil also has a smudging tool on one end which means you can tone it down and make the colour look less severe. The consistency of the pencil is wonderful, it glides on easily and smudges well using the tool. It lasts longer than most pencils as well, at least a whole work day or evening without needing topping up.
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I have also, for the first time in my life, found a black liquid liner which actually works for me. Usually I find that black liners look too harsh as my skin is quite pale. I like that the Liquid Define Eyeliner is not as pigmented as a lot of liquid liner. I guess that lots of people won’t like that but I think it is really good as I can build up as much or as little as I want. I think the nib of the eyeliner is also really easy to use and I have even managed to get almost matching flicks using it! The formula is quick drying and doesn’t smudge easily, even with my runny hayfever eyes.

You can buy both eyeliners for £17 each and the eye pencils comes in a few other colours if you are not too keen on the purple version.

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Instagram Round Up #21

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1. Wild dolphin trail in Aberdeen
2 & 3. BBQ at Balmedie Beach
4. Afternoon tea at The Marcliffe
5. Hedgehog cupcakes
6. Delicious mojito chocolates from Hotel Chocolat!
7 & 8. Fyvie Castle
9, 10, 11 & 12. Edinburgh Festival
13. Chocolate shortbread
14, 15, 16 & 17. Caerphilly Castle
18. Tiger birthday cake
19 & 20. Castle Fraser
21. NOTW
22. Flowers from my dad
23 & 24. A weekend in York
25. Totoro birthday cake
26 & 27 A weekend in Crieff

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Nick Nairn Cook School – The Perfect Steak

Last Saturday, we spent the evening at Nick Nairn Cook School in Aberdeen. The smells drifting down from the upstairs classrooms when we walked in to the school set our stomachs rumbling before our class even started!imageimageimageThe class began with a glass of wine for everybody and then we settled down to watch the chef cook ‘The Perfect Steak‘. He talked us through each step and gave us lots of good tips and interesting facts, about the meat to choose, what sort of pans to use and how long to cook the meat. We all got a taste of the steak when he was finished and it was, no question, the best steak I have ever tried! It was served with parmesan sauteed potatoes and a rocket salad with a gorgeous parmesan and lemon dressing, all of which we were taught to cook. Next it was our turn. We all had our own station (there were ten people in the group) and the chef walked around to help us as we went, while also topping up our wine glasses. We used induction hobs which I had never used before but I was very impressed with them and now want one of my own! Our own steaks turned out pretty well but were not quite up to the standard of the chef’s. I guess practice makes perfect (we already have all of the ingredients to give the dish another go tonight…)!imageWe had such a fun evening and learned so much in just two hours. Our teacher was really helpful and the atmosphere was lovely and relaxed. I have already been trying to decide which course I want to try next… The full day Thai course looks amazing, as does the three hour Master Pasta and Chocolate Therapy!

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NOTW: Alley Attitude

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Colours used:
No7 Stand Back
Maybelline Street Artist “Alley Attitude” Top Coat (I love the effect of this!)

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