Monday, 31 August 2015

Chrissie Manby Book Launch // Royal Princess

I was recently invited by Princess Cruises to the launch of Chrissie Manby's new book, A Proper Family Adventure. The book is based on a family cruising around the Med so Royal Princess was the perfect backdrop to the book launch. Royal Princess was launched in 2012 by the Duchess of Cambridge and it is a truly stunning ship. I've been brought up around cruise ships all my life so I was really excited to be able to go on board for a tour and lunch as well as the book launch.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Bee Good Facial Exfoliator

I've reviewed and tried almost all of Bee Good's products on Annie Writes Beauty, the only two products I'm yet to try is the Daily Moisturiser and Hand Repair. I've loved each and every product so far so when I found out about their newest item, I was eager to try it. The Honey & Camelina Facial Exfoliator* was recently released and I had a tube fall on my door mat so I could give it a test drive.

I love exfoliators, the grittier the better for me so I took my make up off with Bee Good's Cream Cleanser and Cleansing water ready for a good scrub. The Facial Exfoliator contains Honey and Camelina which moisturise the skin deeply while the milled Lavender flowers do the tough bit exfoliating your skin while causing no irritation. It comes in a handy tube so you can control how much you use, dispensing a cream with little granules in which is very much the same consistency of their cream cleanser. It smells divine and very natural which is exactly how I like my skin care. My skin was left buffed, smooth and really clean. I've been using it twice a week and my skin has been loving it.

The packaging is the same as other items in the range with the exfoliant being in a lemony yellow shade. This might be a weird observation with no meaning but I took mint green to mean face products, lilac their hand products and yellow for lip products so I was expecting the exfoliator to also be in mint green packaging. I do love the packaging though, it's modern while still being cute and the majority is a matte texture so they don't slip out your hands when they're wet.

If you're yet to try Bee Good.. Why?! The range really is fab and it's available online on their own site and Urban Outfitters. It's also available in some Waitrose and Fenwicks but you can check which stores on their website.

If you have tried Bee Good before let me know what you're favourite product is.  

*PR Sample

Friday, 28 August 2015

Bournemouth's Hidden Gems

I recently travelled down to Bournemouth to stay with Travelodge and came across some places that I wanted to share with you. I love a hidden gem* and know of many in Southampton. The three places I found in Bournemouth will seem quite touristy but I find that sometimes the most wonderful places are staring you right in the face, places you possibly wouldn't go because they're so obvious.

Patisserie Valerie - 2-6 Post Office Road BH1 1BA

I'd never heard of Patisserie Valerie before but since coming back from Bournemouth it seems like they're all over the country. Not quite a hidden gem as such but a gem none the less. I only found this place because I needed a cash machine and walked past their beautiful windows full of treats. The patisserie was like stepping into Paris. The service was impeccable, the coffee perfectly roasted and the individual cakes divine. I tried both the chocolate mousse and double chocolate gateau because... why not? I'm so eager to go back and try more.

Brays Fish & Chips 7 West Cliff Road BH2 5ES

Brays is about a minutes walk from Travelodge Bournemouth Seaview and as we arrived quite late the first night we dived into the nearest chippy. We were recommended Harry Ramsdens down by the pier which we did try but Brays was so much better. The owner was so friendly and even chucked in an extra bit of fish on our second night, we ate there twice while in Bournemouth. You can sit outside or take away which is what we opted to do both times so we could sit down on the beach. There's nothing better than golden battered fish and salted chips while watching the tide. 

Bournemouth Beach 

The most obvious gem for me is Bournemouth Beach. I am a real sea baby, I've always lived by it and couldn't imagine living anywhere but near the sea. There are seven miles of sandy beach to walk along and explore. From your typical arcades and ice cream huts to winding coastal walks along the cliffs, the best bit being that it's completely free. The South Coast is beautiful in the summer (when we have one) and I think a lot of us forget how much we can do and explore for free. Staying with Travelodge made it really easy to do this as it was right on the door step. 

Where do you live and what would your three hidden gems be?

*Sponsored post.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

V Festival with Boots UK

When I first received an email from Boots about V Festival it was a few days before the Southampton Blog Event and I didn't read it. The lovely Sarah emailed me again reminding me about the email and that they'd need to know by the Monday and I'm so glad she did because when I finally read it on the Sunday at around 11pm I couldn't believe what I was reading, Boots wanted to take a friend and I to V Festival for the weekend! I still can't believe my little, old blog brings me these amazing opportunities, I'm so grateful! 

Friday rolled around and with work done by 4pm, Ro and I went off to the station to make our way to Chelmsford. We were given weekend camping tickets but as Ro's sister lives in Chelmsford we stayed there for the weekend. We woke up to hangovers after a BBQ and late night drinking session with her sister, blistering Sunshine and the urge to eat everything on Saturday. 

After getting ourselves festival ready with Boots festival essentials kit we made our way to V to see James Bay, Annie Mac, Hozier, Sam Smith, Kasabian and so many more. We spent most of the afternoon sitting in the sun by the The Glee Club comedy tent before seeing the main headliners. Sam Smith was incredible and I've been listening to his album non stop since Saturday. I could not of got through the weekend without the Seventeen BB Magic Blemish Balm and I've used it every day since. It's just the perfect amount of coverage to give you a dewy glow!

After getting a decent nights sleep, we were ready for Sunday in our flower garlands and wellies. Thankfully it only rained for a couple of hours which we spent in the comedy tent again watching Suzi Ruffell and Russell Kane. The sun finally started to peek through around 3pm and the rest of the day was spent watching The Kooks, Sigma, De La Soul and Duke Dumont in the sunshine while getting quite merry. Sunday's headliners were Calvin Harris and Paloma Faith who were amazing and we had the best day! I wish I could do it all over again.

Massive thank you to Boots for sending Ro & I to V Festival! I've definitely caught the festival bug! You can see more photos from the weekend on my Instagram, just search - alicespake.


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Safari Supper Club at West Quay

West Quay is one of the biggest shopping centres on the South Coast boasting 150 shops including John Lewis, Jack Wills and soon to be Victoria Secret. It also holds a pretty impressive dining area which is what myself and four other bloggers went in to experience a couple of weeks ago. As part of West Quay's Summer Dine event taking place until the end of August, you can download their new Plus app which gives you lots of discounts and offers on numerous restaurants.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Clinique Face Forward Event

I was recently invited to a Clinique Boots Southampton event to showcase their Face Forward campaign which features bloggers and is encouraging people to start a skin care routine from an early age. I am 100% guilty of not doing this and even though I've upped what I use, I'm still pretty lax with what I do use so I needed this event more than anything.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Bournemouth with Travelodge

Bournemouth is so close to where I live in Southampton but I've never been there so when Travelodge emailed me about being part of their campaign called #bloggerslodge I said yes straight away. I was able to choose which Travelodge I wanted to stay in and Bournemouth Seaview was a no brainer. Right on the cliffs over looking the beach with beautiful views of the sea. We arrived in Bournemouth around 8.30pm and walked from the station in time to watch the sun set over the cliffs. Welcomed in to Travelodge with smiles, check in was painless. The room was on the fourth floor and had beautiful views of the water which  we couldn't quite appreciate until the following morning. After a quick food stop in a local chippy, friday night was spent chilling in the hotel, watching the fireworks out of the window and an early night in time for spending Saturday exploring.

We awoke to clear skies, blue seas and the sun shining on Saturday morning. Breakfast at Travelodge was a buffet and the team were absolute stars for finding soya milk for me. After making a coffee, grabbing some croissants and Nutella pots, breakfast was spent in bed looking out the window. I'd pre-booked tickets for the Oceanarium in Bournemouth to visit the Penguin Beach Encounter, most of you will know I am obsessed with Penguins and I wasn't going to B'mouth and not seeing them! The tickets allowed you to go in and out of the Oceanarium all day which was good. 

I haven't seen animals in captivity since I was a child so seeing it as an adult was quite upsetting. I just wanted to free all the penguins as the space looked quite small even though they said there was space for 24 penguins. I'm sure they take fabulous care of them but I can't help think it's slightly cruel. Especially as Private the Penguin was attacking Darwin, maybe I'm just too soft when it comes to Penguins.

After a few goes round the Oceanarium and watching the Penguins get fed, Harry Ramsden's was calling. To feel a bit better about having more fish and chips we walked along the beach to the pier, down the pier and back up to the beach huts where Cath Kidston had redesigned four. It was difficult to get a photo of all of them as people were in them and I didn't want to take photos of families trying to relax. Harry Ramsden's tasted incredible and definitely filled a hole. Next on the agenda was to hunt down a cash machine which resulted in falling into Patisserie Valerie and picking up two chocolate mousses. After a long trek back to the hotel, we sat eating the chocolate mousse in the window before having an afternoon nap.

After nap time it was time to venture back down to the beach. We don't have a beach in Southampton so we were determined to make the most of having one on our doorstep for the weekend. After buying some dinner and wine, we walked down from West Cliff and on to the sand to catch the last of the sun and just take in the views. We sat for hours, collecting shells and walking in the tide before sitting and watching the sun set. It was the perfect evening and I wouldn't of wanted to spend it any other way. I've grown up around the sea so it's the one place I can go and feel completely calm and relaxed.

Sunday morning was spent lazing in one of their new kingsize beds, eating breakfast and watching old re-runs of The Bill (my guilty pleasure) as check out wasn't until 12pm. Again the breakfast staff were fabulous and one of the woman recognised me and brought out the soya milk straight away. The hotel was fully booked this weekend but each member of staff treated you like you were the only ones there. For a budget hotel, it made all the difference. Dan checked us out in the morning with a big smile and he also called us a taxi to the station and wished us a safe journey home. It was such a lovely weekend and we're already at looking at coming back down to stay with Travelodge again in Bournemouth as the location is so perfect. We'd have to have room 419 again though as the view was just incredible.

Sponsored Post.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

GIVEAWAY // #Sotonmeetup Goody Bag - CLOSED

To round off a week of posts on the Southampton Blog Event I have a giveaway for you! I had one goody bag left over from the event and I thought better than try and ram the extra stuff in my own drawers how about giving it away to someone else? There are five mandatory entries on the Rafflecopter widget below and T&Cs at the bottom. Please make sure you read them!

Good Luck!

- One winner will be picked at random using Rafflecopter.
- This is an UK only giveaway because of postage weight.
- All options are mandatory. 
- If you are under 16 please get your parents permission as you will need to supply an address.
- I will be contacting the winner by email if there is no response after 72 hours then I will be picking another winner at random.
- There is no cash alternative.
- I will be checking all entries and any false or duplicate entries will be removed.
If you have any other questions send me an email on


Thursday, 20 August 2015

#sotonmeetup The Raffle

We had some incredible prizes sent through for the Southampton Blog Event and I cannot express enough how grateful I am to each of the companies that sent through products. We were raising money for the Epilepsy Society, a charity close to both mine and Amy's hearts. We priced the raffle tickets are £2 each and we raised a huge £350! Thank you so much to each and every one of you who purchased raffle tickets and donated to such a wonderful cause.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

#sotonmeetup The Goody Bag

After a good few months of emailing companies here I am finally writing my own post on what was in the fabulous goody bags handed out on the day of the event. The Southampton Blog Event was more than a week ago now which is crazy and if you read Monday's post you'll know that there will be posts all week filling you in on all things #sotonmeetup!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

#sotonmeetup The Venue

Our venue for our latest event was the newly refurbished Revolutions in Bedford Place, Southampton. With the help of their events pro, Nina, any stress I had when it came to the venue disappeared quite quickly. With the refurbishment finishing just a few weeks before the 8th August it was a bit touch and go but the minute I had the email to say it was complete I hot footed it down there to have a sneak peak. 

Monday, 17 August 2015

Sotonbloggers #sotonmeetup

This week is the start of a post from me every day showing you all inside the Southampton Blog Event from the venue, Revolutions Southampton to the Goody Bags, Raffle and of course a photo reel of all the beautiful ladies and (one) male who came to the event. Southampton Bloggers as we're known was set up by myself and Amy after a lack of blog events in Southampton. 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Silver Siren // Jewellery Box

I'm really boring when it comes to jewellery, I like it to be silver, simple and no fuss so when Jewellery Box first got in touch I thought I'd be a nightmare to please. After having a browse of their website and realising just how much they had to offer I left it in their capable hands to find something to suit me.

Friday, 14 August 2015

John Frieda Beach Blonde

John Frieda has always been my go to for shampoo and conditioner, especially for their blonde range. The new Beach Blonde range sounded fab, I liked the idea of the purifying shampoo and the detangling conditioner and thought they would make the perfect pairing.

The Purifying Shampoo* is designed to cleanse heat damaged hair which makes it perfect for taking on holiday. The sun, sea and of course swimming pools cause so much damage to hair that you need something to bring it back to life a little. Infused with energising mint, the shampoo leaves my hair feeling really clean and smelling fresh, so fresh that I can't stop smelling my hair when I use it. 

The Detangling conditioner* helps with untying knots and snags while giving your hair some nourishment. It leaves my hair feeling soft and a lot more manageable, it's also infused with mint giving it that same fresh scent that last for ages. Both products work really well leavng my hair soft, shiny and generally in much better condition. Throw in the fresh mint smell and I'm 100% sold. I just need to try the treatment mask next! 

*PR Samples

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Hampshire on a Plate // Meon Valley Marriot Hotel

Fine dining isn't usually what I'd go for, getting a group of people together for food is sometimes hard enough with our jam packed diaries so the venue is usually where we can decide on the quickest. When myself and a friend were invited out to Meon Valley Marriot Hotel to try their Hampshire on a Plate set menu recently we made sure our diaries were free pretty quickly.

The Broadstreet restaurant and bar is a reservation only AA rosette award winning restaurant housing Executive Head Chef, Paul Watts and his team. The Hampshire on a Plate menu was inspired by the incredible produce on our doorstep here in Hampshire. The restaurant was set out beautifully, light and airy with views of the grounds where you could sit out and have a glass of wine.

We were greeted into Broadstreet and seated by Sabrina who looked after us incredibly well all evening. While scanning through the menu we were offered chilled bottled water and specialty bread served with butter and a choice of plain or chilli salt. After placing our orders and sitting back with a glass of wine we were served a small dish of moussed Goats cheese, Balsamic Vinegar and Tomato Chutney.

The starters consisted of Seared Beaulieu Estate Pigeon, Owntons Black Pudding, Pancetta and Crisp Poached Eggs for myself and Rosary Goats Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato Bon Bons with Beetroot and Basil for my friend. I felt I had to step out of my comfort zone a little so trying pigeon and black pudding did exactly that. The pigeon was delicious and rich, I wouldn't of been able to eat much of it due to it's richness but the portion served was spot on. The crisped poached eggs and pancetta also complimented the pigeon perfectly. The Goats Cheese Bons Bons were also really good, I forget how much I love Goats Cheese. 

My friend, Alice and I both went for the Bracken Farm Pork Honey Roasted fillet, Confit belly, crisp Pancetta, Hill Farm Apple gel and baby leaf Spinach. The pork was beautiful and cooked to perfection, the confit belly and crisp pancetta made the dish and with a slight drizzle of gravy, my meal was complete. I could of quite easily eaten it again, it was amazing. 

After our mains we grabbed another glass of wine to sit on the decking while the moon came up before ordering desserts. We were little piggies and had dessert followed by the cheese board. We both went for the Raspberries, White Chocolate Mousse with Shortbread Crumb which, again was delicious, beautifully presented and complimented each piece perfectly. From the sharpness of the raspberries to the sweet white chocolate mousse, it was melt in your mouth perfection. 

The cheese board was brought out with sweet tomato and date chutney. cheese crackers and grapes with three types of cheese. I have no idea what the cheeses were as we weren't told and didn't get the chance to ask. By the time our desserts came around a large wedding party came into the restaurant and it became a little difficult to get anyone's attention. As much as I don't mind to be left alone to enjoy my meal in restaurants I would of loved a chance to find out a bit more about the origin of the cheeses we were eating. 

The Hampshire on the Plate menu was amazing and for the price of £25 for three courses it was a total steal. The food was incredible, it was beautifully presented and worth every penny. The menu I tried was only available until the 2nd August but the standard menu looked pretty delicious too and I would definitely go back again to sample more.

*Sponsored post.

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