Hallmark Hull: #MadHattersAfternoonTea*

Hello, you! It’s great to see you. Thanks for popping by! Though I’d share a recent experience I had at the Hallmark Hotel in North Ferriby a few weeks ago. I was lucky enough to be treated to a deliciously inviting Alice in Wonderland-themed afternoon tea, complete with tiny ‘Drink Me’ bottles and a myriad of lovingly-crafted savoury snacks, sweet treats, pots of tea, and a glass of sparkling bubbly. It really was as good as it sounds!

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We were very lucky to have had our afternoon tea on a gloriously sunny day, which can sometimes be a rarity in the North so we were all rather pleasantly surprised! Afternoon tea was served in the grounds of the Hallmark Hotel, with a view of the Humber Bridge. We really couldn’t have asked for a better day.

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Our table was strewn with playing cards and adorned with delicate china tea cups, waiting to be filled with freshly brewed tea or coffee. The rabbit ears were a lovely touch, and we all got into the spirit of things and thoroughly enjoyed trying them on. We just couldn’t wait to see what was on offer, and we weren’t disappointed when our food arrived!

 

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We were brought a selection of hand cut sandwiches – including ham and pickle, cheese and chutney, egg mayo and rocket – alongside some homemade scotch eggs and tomato and egg ‘toadstools’. My sweet tooth was well and truly sated with a selection of iced cupcakes, mushroom-shaped meringues, freshly baked scones with dollops of zingy lemon curd and lashings of clotted cream, and adorable ‘Drink Me’ strawberry beverages that tasted deliciously fruity and exceedingly summery. All this was topped off with helpings of popping candy, to delight both children and big kids around the table in equal measure!

The full menu of delights is as follows:

Assorted finger sandwiches/wraps: Ham & Pickle, Cucumber & Cream Cheese, Cheese & Chutney & Egg Mayo & Rocket
Home Made Mushroom meringues
Savoury Scotch Egg and Boiled Egg/Tomato Toadstool
Eat Me popping candy cupcake
Freshly baked Scones and Strawberry Jam, Lemon Curd & Devonshire clotted cream
Strawberry ‘Drink Me’ Syrup
Popping Candy
Pot of Tea or Coffee.

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We loved the attention to detail given to the afternoon tea, where the items were carefully stacked on miniature picnic benches and surrounded by Alice-themed paraphernalia. This treat would be a fabulous experience for any Lewis Carroll fiend, or for anyone who simply loves a little bit of magic and Wonderland whimsy!

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L-R: Me, KateAshtonAlex and Megan. Photo courtesy of Ashton Gibbs. 

 

 

All in all we had an absolutely fabulous experience at the Hallmark Hotel, and I would like to thank the chef for preparing such a wonderful treat and the staff for making our visit so relaxing.

Why not pop into Hallmark in Hull to experience this for yourself? Prices start from £17.50 without the glass of bubbly and £22.50 for the fizz included.

What do you make of the afternoon tea?

Hope you’re having a great evening,

Heather x

 

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‘May-pril’ Favourites (aka April Favourites Part 2)

Hello! Well, this is embarrassing. I just realised I posted my first April Favourites on the 3rd or thereabouts, and I promised to get something up with the second installment that week, but (as usual) life got in the way, and I haven’t been able to post this sooner! I apologise profusely, but (hopefully!) it’ll be worth the wait. This is my ‘May-pril’ favourites (thanks, Drew!) and are a selection of things I’ve been loving. As usual, any gifted products are marked with an *. Let me know what you think!

1. Sif Jakob’s pen*

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I absolutely love stationery (no, really!) and I’m always wanting to buy new pens, notebooks or additional Filofax inserts, so when I saw this in our Hugh Rice Luxe goody bags I was giddy with stationery-induced joy! This is a gorgeous refillable pen, with a highly pearlised, white finish, and a barrel full of beautiful sparkling faceted crystals. It’s just the perfect size to fit into my Filofax pen loop, and I’ve been using it with my Filofax ever since. Seriously gorgeous and a great gift idea!

2. Handi-help handi gripper

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Here is one of the things my dad kindly bought for me to make my life a little easier. It’s a tool to help pick things up which is very useful for me because of my painful back, which is greatly exacerbated by strenuous activity. This has been really helpful for getting washing out of the machine, or picking things up. My occupational therapist also showed me how to use it to help you get changed in the morning on a particularly painful day. It’s really great, and all you need to do is squeeze the trigger. The gripper part can also be rotated to help with particular tasks. A must for anyone who needs a little helping hand!

3. Lab2 I’m Turning Pro makeup brushes*

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Here is another fabulous product we received at the #HBMarchMeet. We received some brushes from lab2 last time, and I was seriously impressed, so when I peered into our over-flowing goodie bags I couldn’t wait to try these! They pick up plenty of product with minimal fall out, and have super-soft handles marked with the brush type which make applying make up a real joy. I particularly love the contour and buffing brushes, which are used every single time I apply make up! They’re slowly replacing my trusty eco tools because they’re so versatile.

4. Thomas Sabo jewellery wrap*

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Here’s another fabulous little treat we received at the Hugh Rice Luxe event. It’s a gorgeous velvety wrap, with plenty of pockets for storing all your precious pieces. It’d be great for travel!

5. Moschino silk scarves

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I had had a particularly bad cbt session, and I decided to go into TK Maxx, where I found these beautiful silk scarves. They’re great for adding a little bit of glamour to an outfit, and I’ve been enjoying trying out new ways to wear them. I also like putting them in my hair as headbands, or tied around a handbag. Hopefully, with plenty of love and care, these will last for many years to come. 

6. Kiko Urban Sheen Lip gloss in shades 01 & 04*

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Another gorgeous goody from the #HBMarchMeet! These are fabulous little crayon sticks, that provide a sheer wash of colour and a light sheen to brighten up your make up look. These would be really great to chuck into a suitcase on holiday as they’re only small and lightweight, and are extremely moisturising on the lips. Om really enjoying these and will try to share some swatches with you.

Well, we got there! Thanks for waiting to see this; life has been so so busy, but I’m just about getting on top of it now.

Hope you’re having a fabulous week, and let me know if you’ve tried any of these!

Heather x

PS you can find me on instagram, snapchat and twitter as htlcy; why not come and say hello?

April Favourites (part 1) *

Hello! Just thought I’d write up a cheery post about things I loved using last month. These are a mixture of skin care, beauty and products to improve my quality of life, so there should be a little bit of something for everyone! I was fortunate enough to have received some of these products for review, and as always, I’ll indicate this with an *. I am only ever 100% honest when it comes to reviewing products, and I only ever share my thoughts and opinions with you if I truly, truly mean them. Honesty is the best policy.

There’s a second instalment to come, so keep your eyes peeled!

  1. Greenfrog Botanic Botanical Bodywash*

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I was lucky enough to win these at a recent meet in Leeds, and they are seriously wonderful. Greenfrog Botanic create gorgeously indulgent products that are cruelty-free, vegan, and full of organic products. They ‘live by the four Es: Excellent quality soaps, Environmental and natural products that conserve our planet, Ethically 100% vegan to protect our animals and Exclusive’. Greenfrog’s founders Nick and Julie use Himalayan soap berries in their bodywashes, which have been used for centuries, and are extremely passionate about environmental issues so have done all they can to ensure their products are natural and as environmentally-friendly as possible. I was extremely impressed with these, and particularly loved the Geranium and Peppermint scent. My boyfriend even commented on how soft and less-irritated his skin was after using this, and he never usually takes any notice of anything remotely skincare-related! A definite seal of approval there. I can’t wait to get my hands on more of this.

2. Bee Good Lipbalm*

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I received this at the Leeds meet, and it has become a daily staple! I cycle into uni whenever possible, so this is great for keeping my lips moisturised. It is partly made by British bees, and the scent is just delicious! It reminds me of those drumstick lollies I used to eat when I was a child, and I find myself smiling when I use it. It is colour-free and leaves a glossy sheen.

3. Tangle Therapy

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I bought this to help with my motor skills in my hemi hand (the side affected by cerebral palsy). It is a loop of rubber-coated plastic joints, that can be manipulated and moved with one hand. Not only is it great for working on movement if limited, it’s also really relaxing and ideal if you need something to fiddle with. I also have a Tangle jr. original, which is slightly smaller and not rubberised. Because I have severe anxiety I sometimes find I need something to mess around with in order to focus my attention, or diffuse the anxiety. I keep it in my pocket as the Tangle jr. is discrete enough to take out and about. I love Tangle Therapy one, but it is slightly larger so I tend to keep it at home. As I say, it’s great for working on my right hand. I have also included a picture of the Tangle jr. below, which easily fits into a hand. The Tangle Therapy is chunkier in comparison. The Tangle jr. is really cheap on amazon, and a great thing to try out for the price, whether you’re just wanting a fiddle toy or something to exercise your hand with. They come in all sorts of colours and with all sorts of textures. I think you can also get a smaller Tangle Therapy, but I haven’t tried one yet. I might do!

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4. Loreal Keratin Treatment* (shampoo and hair mask)

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I was kindly gifted this little set by Hays Salon, Hull, and I’m really impressed with it! It smells great, and the mask is luscious and incredibly moisturising which is great for my hair. Hays Salon is really friendly and they always do a great job, and I highly recommend it if you’re near Hull.

5. Viridian Ultimate Beauty Organic Skin Repair Oil*

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I received this in the Leeds’ Meet goodie bag and it’s absolutely fabulous! I already use Viridian’s Organic Ultimate Beauty Face Balm, and this of the same quality and luxury. I used to have terrible acne, so this product is great for softening the scarring. Smells great, too!

6. Kiko Campus Idol Brush*

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I was lucky to receive this at our Hull March Meet, and I’ve been using it ever since! Not only is the face brush brilliant, but it adds a gorgeous pop of colour to my dressing-table. Stunning! There’s no fall-out yet, and it’s lovely and fluffy for picking up product.

I was going to include a colossal 12 items in this one post, but I’ll spilt it up and you’ll get to see the second half later on this week.

What do you think of the products above? Are you keen to try anything?

Have a great week; I’m aiming to get as much dissertation work done as possible…wish me luck!

Heather x

 

 

 

 

Santoro Goodies*

Hello! Just a quick one today. At the #HBMarchMeet we were all extremely lucky to receive a mixture of goodies from the brilliantly quirky brand Santoro. Admittedly Santoro hasn’t really been on my radar before, so it was great to be introduced to something new. Santoro produce a range of products and accessories each with gorgeous illustrations and designs that belong to a particular collection. I was extremely lucky to find a gorgeous iPad case in my goodie bag, and I thought I’d share it with you.

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This is a gorgeously illustrated neoprene case that fits an iPad2 snuggly inside.

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The cover features a sweet illustration of a girl gazing up at a huge fluffy creature, and it’s absolutely beautiful. The design covers the front and the back and is highly detailed.

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Though made for an iPad or similar tablet, I’ve been loving using it to cart around a planner or my beloved Filofax and Kindle, which makes them easy to find when in a handbag or rucksack. The case is fairly stretchy so both fit snuggly inside, protected from the elements.

I’d really recommend checking Santoro out; I definitely have my eye on a few more items that are absolutely stunning! I’ve never seen accessories quite like this before, so if you’re wanting something  unique, beautiful and practical, look no further than Santoro.

What do you think of the case?

Remember to follow me on twitter, instagram and snapchat. Find me as @htlcy ; I’d love to connect with you!

Heather x

Experience: Hotter Shoes, York*

Hello! It’s Easter Sunday, and I’m spending it eating copious amounts of chocolate and relaxing…what else is it for?! I thought today would be a great time to write up and share with you my recent review of the Hotter event in York.

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I’m already a Hotter convert as I own a couple of pairs of formal Poplar shoes, but I bet most of you will be associating Hotter shoes with footwear for the older generation; in other words comfortable, but not necessarily stylish or fashionable. If this is the case, I hope to change your mind: Hotter really has something for everyone of any age and any taste!

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Our night began with glasses of prosecco and a wonderful selection of savoury and sweet canapes. We mingled with the staff of the Feasegate store and had a very quick glimpse into what the Spring/Summer ’16 collection has to offer.

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Next we sat through a quick presentation on the company behind the product, where Mel explained the origins of the company which started in 1959. Hotter shoes originally traded as Beaconsfield footwear, and manufactured a range of comfortable slippers and unbranded shoes. Eventually Hotter became the company it is today, and decided to sell shoes just as comfortable as slippers.

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Hotter are proud of their ‘comfort concept’ features hidden within each pair of shoes, and ensure comfort from the very first step. These features include wider fittings when required, roomy toe boxes for wriggle-room and ultra supportive insoles. Each of the shoes is crafted using the finest quality leathers and other materials, and each sole is filled with millions of tiny air bubbles ensuring a comfortably light step. Surprisingly Hotter is also the UK’s biggest shoe manufacturer, crafting an amazing pair of shoes every twenty seconds.

Though Hotter’s factory is still based in Lancashire, Hotter now sells shoes as far afield as the US, and its call-centre is open til the early hours of the morning to cater to these customers. Although you can now buy Hotter’s products online, there are an amazing 75 stores nationwide where you will receive exemplary customer service from friendly and knowledgeable staff.

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Hotter’s shoes for Spring and Summer come in a huge array of styles and bright, summery colours. I was pleasantly surprised by the huge variety on offer. There’s a fabulous selection of sandals and wedges, which will look amazing for a stroll on the beach or for relaxed summer evenings.

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The flat slip-ons are available in a variety of styles and colours, and the Jewel and the Livvy styles would be particularly good for warm weather! I particularly love the pastel shades of the Livvy style, and the Jewel has a rather gorgeous floral on offer. There are also beautiful handbags to complement each pair of shoes and to complete an outfit. I particularly love the dark pink colour!

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Even those who live in trainers and active wear will find a pair perfectly suited for them. Hotter’s new h92 collection comes in an array of colours, and features thick luxurious memory foam insoles. These are incredibly light, and I tried on the Float pair. The red colour is absolutely wonderful! Bounce is also beautifully crafted. If slip on active footwear isn’t your thing, you can pick up a pair of the lace-up Feather shoes. Gorgeously comfortable and perfect for summer walks.

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There’s plenty of heeled shoes on offer, too. I didn’t try any on (blame the cerebral palsy!) but one of the girls picked up a beautiful silver pair of Donna shoes that looked absolutely amazing.

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The loafers including the Abbeyville, Brierton and Sorbet would make the perfect pair of smart work shoes. I tried on a pair of the Abbeyville shoes and they were gorgeously soft and flexible!

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The casual shoes – Mabel and Essmy – are available in a range of styles, including gorgeous nautical-inspired colour palettes and floral finishes. After looking through the Spring/Summer catalogue I have my eye on the washable Biscay shoes, which look gorgeously bright and summery. I don’t think they were available in the store on the night because I would have definitely tried them on if so!

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‘Mannish tailoring’ is a key trend this season, and when I set eyes upon the Saltburn shoe I knew I just had to try them! These brogues feature gorgeous pepper-pot punching detail crafted using the softest nubuck leathers. I quickly fell head over heels (sorry, couldn’t resist!) for these, particularly the French Blue colour. We were each given a pair of shoes to take home and review, and I knew the Saltburn shoes had to be mine.

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Aren’t they gorgeous? I took some pictures of them whilst exploring the museum quarter in Hull’s Historical Old Town.

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I’m loving the versatility of these and think they look great with jeans, dresses, skirts and even formal workwear! I have a blue blazer that would complement these perfectly.

I already have my eye on more in the collection, and really recommend you give Hotter a visit; there’s something for everyone!

Many thanks to the wonderful folks at Hotter for having me. I really enjoyed myself and I’m now the proud owner of a very beautiful (and comfortable!) pair of shoes! Do you love Hotter, too? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Heather x
PS; for more pictures and a glimpse into all things nosuperhero, why not check out my instagram, snapchat and twitter? Just search for @htlcy. I’d love to see you!

#HBMarchMeet at Al Porto, Hull

Isn’t it strange how quickly things creep up on you? That was certainly the case when it came to the hotly-anticipated Hull Blogger’s March Meet. The last meet was a huge success, and we enjoyed an afternoon of drinks, demos from brands such as Lush, Weleda and Viridian and – of course – plenty of chat. Though the March meet was smaller with just under 20 attendees, it was by no means any less fun, and I came away feeling grateful to be a part of such a welcoming and warm community.

The event was held at Al Porto, a gorgeous little Italian restaurant situated on Hull’s marina. You may recognise the name of the place as not only did we hold the Hull Blogger’s summer meet there, but I was also asked to review their delicious Christmas menu with a couple of the girls. You can find these links here and here.

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Al Porto has become a favourite with the Hull Bloggers; it serves authentic Italian food in a gorgeous rustic setting. We enjoyed a drink – including wine, if that takes your fancy – and a very hearty portion of delicious food from the lunch menu, which is sure to cater to everyone’s tastes. Their lunch costs £8 a head, and it is well worth it. I can definitely recommend the salmon pasta. Find their lunch menu on their website here.

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Al Porto’s food is always beautifully presented and extremely delicious. The winter salad was also a hit with the other bloggers, and I will definitely try it when I go back!

As usual we came away with a fantastic array of goodies. Here’s just a few photos of them, and I’m currently busy reviewing them so hopefully you’ll see the whole selection soon! A massive thank you to all the generous brands who got involved.

There are many other lovely little things so stay tuned to see what I think of them!

As always a huge thank you to the wonderful bloggers who make these events so worthwhile. Sadly Kat (who did an AMAZING job with everything) was too ill to attend, and we missed her very much! You can check out Kat’s blog  here.

I can’t wait to review all of the wonderful things for you.

Hope you’re weekend is going well,

Heather x

Cooking up an Easter Feast with Primula: Creamy Chicken*

Hello! How are you? It’s really sunny over here today and I’m having a day of recipe-developing and MRes work (which never stops!). You might remember a few days ago I posted a recipe using Primula cheese and created a super-tasty tart. You can find that recipe here.

I wanted to come up with something quick yet tasty, and I think I made just the right thing to fulfil those requirements!

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Ingredients:

Two chopped chicken breasts,
Handful of chopped mushrooms,
1/2 chopped onion,
1/2 tube of Primula Original cheese,
150ml single cream,
2 chicken stock cubes,
2 crushed garlic cloves,
Rice/pasta to serve,
Green salad to garnish (optional).

Method:

1. Soften onion and brown chicken over medium heat in a frying pan. Add the crushed garlic.
2. Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan and fry with the chicken, onion and garlic.
3. Turn heat to low, and add 1/2 tube of Primula cheese. Combine well.
4. Stir in the cream, combining well. Here is where you can add the stock and cracked black pepper of desired.
5. Leave to simmer on low heat, ensuring the chicken is cooked through and everything well-combined.
6. Serve immediately over rice or pasta. I also served ours with a simple salad dressed with olive oil.

Couldn’t be easier!

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I hope you’re enjoying this Primula series; I have a really tasty dessert perfect for an Easter feast coming your way soon!

Have a wonderful day,
Heather x