The Cotswolds

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Earlier this week I spent 2 nights in the beautiful, English countryside. The Cotswolds is notoriously famous for being one of the most ‘quintessentially English’ and unspoiled areas in England. The area is known for its river valleys, beautiful brickwork and sleepy towns.

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How to get there:

You can drive to the Cotswolds, however on this occasion we were not in the mood to take on that challenge! Instead, we got the train straight from Paddington Station to Honeybourne. The hotel is about a 10-15 minute drive from there and the hotel can book a taxi for you. We booked our tickets well in advance and got them for £10 return on trainline.com! The taxi will be about £18 each way from the station to the hotel.

 

The Hotel:

We stayed in The Lygon Arms Hotel in Broadway. Broadway is one of the most quaint and beautiful towns I have ever seen, and looks like it is fresh out of the movie ‘The Holiday!’ This Mr & Mrs Smith hotel was the perfect location for us, as the premises are located right on the high street, in the centre of town. Friendly staff, an old school look and feel and good food, I would definitely recommend this hotel going forward.

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Food/Restaurants:
  • Russels: Main restaurant/fish and chips
  • Tea Rooms & Cafes: The Bakehouse, Market Pantry, The Tea Set Broadway, Hunter’s of Broadway.
  • No. 32: Nice spot for fresh juices/smoothies, coffees, sandwiches and cakes. This is definitely more modern than the other traditional, Tea Rooms
  • Lygon Arms Wine Bar

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  • Lygon Arms Bar & Grill
  • Broadway Hotel restaurant (photos below)

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Things to do in Broadway:

The Cotswolds/Broadway is a very sleepy town, so prepare to seriously relax!

1. Walk to the Tower (Broadway Tower, Worcestershire) This is a 45 minute walk up and back and boasts great views of the town of Broadway.

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2. Swim/Sauna/Spa at the hotel
3. Try the local tea/cake shops and restaurants

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4. Browse the shops for local products and gifts

I would recommend stocking up on books, movies and board games that you can use whilst relaxing in the hotel.

 

Couple of things to note:

1. Book the spa in advance (month or so in advance) as it was fully booked a week before we arrived.
2. For walks, bring shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Some hotels provide wellies but its good to have a pair just in case.
3. Book your train ticket and any restaurants you want to visit in advance.

My Fake Tan Removal Tips

Let’s face it, taking off fake tan is a bloody nightmare, and at times virtually impossible! From living in a house with 4 other women who love fake tan as much as I do, it has helped me compile a list of the best ways to take off stubborn fake tan:

 

Exfoliating Gloves

You can get these gloves in Boots, Primark and most pharmacies and they are a life saviour when it comes to taking off tan! Don’t even bother taking off the product without them, as you will not get the same effect.

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Tanning Eraser

Having a tanning eraser on before you shower, definitely helps when it comes to fake tan removal. I wouldn’t say it takes everything off, but it certainly helps. Try and apply the eraser as far in advance of your shower as you can, for best results.

 

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Baths

If you have the time to have a bath instead of a shower, then this will definitely help when taking off your tan. It gives your skin time to soften and soak in the hot water, making it easier to scrub off remaining product.

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Lemons

Lemons are also a great way to remove fake tan. You can either slice up a few segments and throw them into your bath, or use a wedge to directly scrub off stubborn tan!

 

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Salt Scrubs

When used with an exfoliating glove, salt scrubs are also great for exfoliating the skin and targeting stubborn fake tan. It leaves the skin super smooth, making for a better base for when you re-apply your tan. You can get these in Boots, Superdrug, Tk Maxx etc.

 

My Current Skincare Routine

I thought it has been a while since I updated my skincare routine on my blog, so I thought I would share my current skincare routine, featuring all the products I have been using recently:

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For Anti-Ageing:

Retinol is supposed to be great for anti-ageing, however it is a very strong product so avoid using every night, and make sure you start with the smallest dosage and work your way up. The Ordinary products are great for this, as they are set in squalene, so you can start to build up a tolerance gradually. Also be aware to always wear SPF after you put it on, as the sun can directly damage your skin when exposed to retinol. I apply this product before bed 3-4 nights  a week.

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For Eye cream:

As I recently turned 27, I have noticed a puffiness under my eyes that is really starting to irritate me. I came across this product by chance at a train station in NYC, but had heard great things about the brand, and so far have been loving the product. It comes in a larger container, but I’d advise trying the small one (below) first to make sure you like it. I apply this in the morning or evenings whenever I am feeling tired or think my skin is looking puffy.

 

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For SPF:

This is one of my favourite skincare products as it is so light and smoothing on the skin. A little also goes a long way with this product so it tends to last a very long time.

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As an alternative I also love La Roche Posay 50+

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For Serums:

I tend to suffer from dry, rather than oily skin, so I love serums that are super hydrating! I now never use a regular face moisturiser, as I don’t find them affective enough for hydration – serums are definitely the way to go. The two I have been loving are:

 

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The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid

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For Cleansers:

I always switch back and forth between 2 cleansers, one being a slightly more affordable option than the other. My 2 current favourites are IMAGE at the higher price point and Liz Earle at the more affordable price point. Both of these cleansers are very gentle on your skin and help to clean your skin without being overly invasive.

 

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For Face Tanning

For facial tanning, I have been loving the TanOrganic face product. It gives a really natural glow and with natural ingredients, I don’t feel like I am doing excess harm to my skin.

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For Dry Lips

Dry lips during Winter are an endless battle, but this product I swear by, because it actually works! It’s super cheap and you can get it in Boots and definitely beats using Vaseline or Carmex.

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Exfoliant:

This product is a 3-in-1 micro exfoliant with 3% glycolic acid and salicylic acid to refine, brighten + renew your skin. Glycolic Fix Scrub works deep into pores to cleanse, polish + reduce blemishes and can help reduce signs of ageing. It’s also very affordable and available in Boots.

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London: My January Restaurant Picks

 

Petersham Nurseries

So this is technically not a restaurant, but the food was so delicious and the atmosphoere so beautiful, I simply had to include it! Hidden away beside Richmond Park is the stunning Petersham Nurseries. An idyllic setting for lunch, tea and cake, this place is not to be missed if you are in the Richmond area or out for a weekend walk!

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BURNT TOAST (BRIXTON)

In the heart of Brixton Market is Burnt Toast, a low key but delicious spot for breakfast, brunch or lunch. The food is delicious but be prepared to queue!

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MARGOT

Okay so this is definitely one of my more ‘fancy’ restaurants that I tried this month. Don’t be mislead by the name, the food is not French, but actually Italian, and absolutely divine! Excellent service and in the heart of Covent Garden, this spot is perfect for an intimate and more upmarket evening, or even a great place to entertain guests or clients.

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THE JOINT (TOOTING MARKET)

Broadway Market is only just down the road from me, and it forever baffles me why I do not go down there more often. Between Broadway and Tooting Market, there is the most incredible array of restaurants and bars, with foods of all different types, from all over the world. My most recent visit was to The Joint – a meat lovers heaven! I was walking by this cosy spot and once I spotted the delicious looking burgers, I simply couldnt say no! Cheap, cheerful and casual, the food is absolutely delicious!

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MAMMA MIA PASTA (BROADWAY MARKET)

Right opposite The Joint is Mamma Mia pasta, a great spot for authentic, Italian pasta. The menu allows you to create and mix and match your choice of dish, from a variety of different sauces, cheeses and pastas. Cheap & Cheerful!

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Seven at Brixton

Seven at Brixton is a tapas and cocktail bar located in Brixton Market. They are open every day serving breakfast, brunch and coffees and also do bottomless brunch!

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GENESIS (Vegan food)

Located in Spitalfields is the delicious GENESIS. Similar to that of a diner, the menu is entirely vegan with a fast food twist, offering everything from burgers, to milkshakes to mac n cheese. It is definitely on the more casual side, but perfect for a mid-week feed, without the normal fast food guilt!

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Cattivo

A sister restaurant to Canova Hall in Brixton, I went to Cattivo for a bottomless brunch and would definitely recommend it going forward! A large, spacious venue, great food and service and endless prosecco, this spot is worth a visit if you are looking for a lively, bottomless brunch!

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Quick & Easy Porridge Bread

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It’s January, and just like every year, everyone is trying to cut back and eat healthy. This healthy, porridge bread recipe is super quick and easy to make and is a great alternative to normal, supermarket breads!

 

Recipe:
  1. 1 Tub of Natural Yogurt (500g)
  2. Porridge Oats – Use Gluten Free Oats for a gluten free option.
  3. Bicarbonate of Soda
  4. Mixed Seeds (topping)

 

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C and line a bread tin with parchment paper. I just use a regular loaf tin.

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Pour the full tub of natural yogurt into a mixing bowl. From there, add 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and mix thoroughly. Use the same empty tub of natural yogurt and fill it to the top with porridge oats, and add to the mixture. Repeat the same action with a second tub of oats. Mix thoroughly.

Then add the mixture to the baking tin and press down with a spoon, so that the mixture binds together. Add mixed seeds on top (optional) and press them lightly into the top of the mixture.

Cook for about 30-35 minutes, and check the mixture with a sharp knife. The knife should come out clean when the bread is fully cooked.

Serve with butter, jam, or a personal favourite almond butter and sliced banana. I recommend serving it toasted – enjoy!

 

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Dublin Food Picks

Whilst being home over Christmas, I had the opportunity to try new food places/restaurants in Dublin. Here are my top picks I would recommend:

 

Gertrude

New to Pearse Street, Gertrude restaurant is described as the perfect spot for all day dining. Suitable for small plates or a three course meal, the coffee is supplied through 3FE and the bread comes from Bread 41 across the road.

According to allthefood.ie,  ‘The menu is a mixture of semi-typical diner fare, Asian influenced dishes and the best Irish produce, with dishes like friend chicken and buttermilk pancakes, duck buns and game pie, as well as scrambled eggs with crab and hot sauce, snacks, sides and sweets.’

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Host

Host in Ranelagh has been in the village for a few months now, but since being in the UK I hadn’t had the chance to pay this spot a visit. The menu is essentially wine and small plates, with the main dishes changing on a regular basis, depending on the chef’s pick. The food is delicious and perfect for sharing, although it is on the pricier side. For a cool and trendy spot though, Host is the place to visit and I would definitely recommend it to those who like to branch out on their restaurant choices.

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Bread 41

Another spot on Pearse Street is Bread 41. A bread and pastry heaven, this place is perfect for breakfast, lunch or coffee, if you are in the city centre. This organic bakery actually has a flour mill on site and produces delicious, authentic sourdough as well as Danish pastries and cronuts. A takeaway pizza menu is also available from 5pm to 10pm, served through a hatch opening onto Pearse Street. Bread 41 has also launched a series of bread making classes, where you can learn the art yourself- click here for more details. At only €80, this is definitely a bargain.

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House

I had only ever been to House before for drinks, but had heard the place also serves great food. Whilst browsing somewhere to go to for Afternoon Tea, I came across their Afternoon Tea Menu as one to try. With so many hotels being so busy during the Christmas period, House seemed like the perfect, alternative option.

A table right beside the open fire and Christmas Tree, fantastic service and a delicious array of cakes and sandwiches, I would definitely recommend House Afternoon Tea to anyone in the Dublin area.

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Winter Haul

ZARA SOFT-TOUCH OVERSIZED SWEATER DETAILS
£29.99 

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H&M Cable-knit polo-neck jumper
£34.99

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H&M Wrapover top
£17.99 **Also comes in Red

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H&M Balloon-sleeved blouse
£34.99

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COS DOUBLE-BREASTED WOOL COAT £190

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TOPSHOP Scallop Wrap Top £32.00 (Black & Red)

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TOPSHOP Stretch PU Trousers
£36.00

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WAREHOUSE STAR EMBELLISHED CUFF JUMPSUIT
 £75.00

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WAREHOUSE PLEAT WRAP WIDE LEG JUMPSUIT
WAS £52.00 NOW £39.00

 

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M&S COLLECTION Patent Stiletto Heel Ankle Boots
Price £45

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