Restaurant Revisited: All Star Lanes, Manchester

Following my visit to All Star Lanes in Holborn I though it only fair that I re-visit All Star Lanes in Manchester. They won my bowl off against Dog Bowl last year and with the promise of a new winter menu, it would be rude not to.

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Something that isn’t new to the menu (although I have no idea how I haven’t spotted it before) is the All Star take on a porn star martini. Pink Pigeon rum, maraschino, orange bitters, passion fruit, pineapple and apple served with a shot of Prosecco. Knowing my love of rum you can imagine how much I loved the Debbie Does. It isn’t as sweet as a regular porn star martini with a touch more fruitiness and a lovely richness from the rum. I was one happy lady.

Hitting the menu and I decided to go for the new king prawn taco with my friend Anoushka opting for the salt beef croquettes. I had those in London and they were just as good as they were in Holborn.

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The hard shell taco was packed with jalapenos, a few too many for me but they were easy to remove and Anoushka was certainly happy to dispose of them. The prawns were plump, juicy and with lots of flavour to stand up to the creamy sour cream and garlicky guacamole. I’d have liked a few more but then I say that whenever I order prawns as a starter.

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Onto mains and I couldn’t leave without trying the nacho cheese burger. A ground chuck and rib burger patty is served topped with shards of taco, nacho cheese, guacamole and jalapenos. The burger was cooked through however still juicy with the taco shards adding a good crunch to the dish. I’m not usually a fan of nacho cheese but this one was full of flavour although the guacamole was a little lost.

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Anoushka went for a lighter option ordering the Cajun swordfish with a side of Monterey jack corn grit chips. The fish was meaty and lightly spiced served on top of crushed potatoes and green beans. Halfway through Anoushka announced she was full yet I still didn’t get a look in, she polished off the lot! I did get to try the corn grit chips which were crisp with a well seasoned centre oozing with melting cheese. I loved them and could have happily sat and eaten a full bowl with their guacamole.

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Being a fan of both the Caipirinha (oh how it reminds me of a particularly fantastic all inclusive holiday in the Dominican Republic) and the Bramble I thought I’d give the new Caipiriamble a go whilst deciding on dessert. Finlandia vodka, grapefruit and lime are muddled with sugar to create this interesting concoction. Fresh, fruity with a touch of sweetness it worked perfectly. Not surprisingly its creator Sophie Douse won the ASL Finlandia competition this year.

Not to be outdone we decided to split a dessert and chose the choc chip cookie ice cream sandwich.

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The cookies were more like shortbread in texture and melted in the mouth whilst the ice cream added the richness and a sweet glug of maple syrup finished things off well. I was expecting a gooey warm cookie that melted the ice cream and this was a pleasant surprise. It is so nice to see chefs trying something slightly different with their menu. We managed about a half of it before we admitted defeat though, I wish it were portable so I could take it home!

Service was impeccable with lots of cocktail recommendations when asked and also perfect breaks between courses. It’s easy to see why Lady GaGa paid a visit when she was in Manchester last week.

I need to go back and try the Astoria salad that appears to be the winter offering replacing my favourite chargrilled chicken salad yet there’s also a Christmas offering available until the 24th December. A turkey burger with cheese, bacon, stuffing and cranberry. Damn there goes my diet…

We were invited to dine as guests of All Star Lanes and weren’t asked to pay for our meal. As always this is an honest and unbiased review of the experience.

Elixir Turned One And Launched Their New Elements Themed Cocktail Menu

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If there’s one place in Manchester that knows how to throw a party it’s Elixir. Their summer bash was spectacular and their first birthday party promised to be a similarly lavish affair.

It was the new cocktail menu that attracted me with the promise that they’d be inspired by their own philosophical element of fire, earth, water, air and ether. As a regular champion of Elixir as a venue of choice in general, I was excited to see what they had up their sleeves.

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‘By the fire’ didn’t disappoint with a mix of rum, dark chocolate liqueur, chocolate syrup and a splash of cream before being topped with marshmallow foam and a skewered campfire treat. Perfect for the colder evenings this tasted like a boozy hot chocolate without the heat. And rum is my favourite tipple so this ticked all the boxes for me.

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Another favourite was the ‘utopian cascade’ which was, as is Elixir’s way, a visual masterpiece. Calvados, spiced rum, element infused five spice syrup, pressed apple and lemon are served atop clove and star anise with a cloud of dry ice garnished with a dried apple and cinnamon star. Engaging all the senses this cocktail smells like Christmas should. Not just a pretty cocktail this also tastes incredible with the spiced elements giving a real winter warmer of a drink.

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Elixir’s twist on a ‘white lady’ is the most elegant blue drink I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a fair few blue drinks in my time, the less said about those the better. This one is the ‘hope floats’ which mixes homemade bubble gum gin, limoncello, egg white and lemon juice before topping with a hubble bubble cloud float. You are encouraged to blow your own bubbles and breathe deeply to get the experience of the senses. I didn’t get to try this one as I had to dash off but did manage to get a sip of the gin which is an experience in itself. On the nose it smells sickly sweet, just like bubblegum, and I was expecting a hit of sweetness from the gin. Whilst there is some sweetness there the gin is still the overpowering taste and beautifully smooth. I can’t wait to go back and try this one.

06.11.14 Image © Phil Tragen

06.11.14 Image © Phil Tragen 06.11.14 Image © Phil Tragen

As we left we were shown into the basement which has been transformed into a winter wonderland with snowy white furs, silver trees and a gorgeous blue hue. I was at this point reminded why I had recommended a friend visit when she was unsure of where to hold her forthcoming wedding reception. This room is just perfect for an intimate wedding and I bet there’ll be a cracking New Year’s Eve bash down here.

Prior to writing this post I had been alerted to some disappointing news that Elixir had scored 1 out of 5 on their food hygiene rating. Keen to investigate I got in touch with the owners who confirmed that they had been visited during some structural work, transforming the basement in fact, when the inspectors had come in. The kitchen had already been closed and has since been closed permanently whilst the work is being completed. They currently have no plans to serve food at Elixir so this food hygiene rating has been rendered obsolete. To be fair, I’d never seen Elixir as a first choice to come and eat but let me tell you, it is definitely top of my list where their cocktails are concerned. Make sure you are ready to have your senses stimulated when you visit, I promise you won’t leave disappointed.

Images are credited to Phil Tragen. Drinks were complimentary for all guests.

Wine Tasting At Pride Mountain Vineyards In St Helena, Napa Valley

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Nestled on Spring Mountain over the Napa Valley you will find Pride Wines. Arriving into the Napa Valley is a daunting experience to say the least. Grapevines line the lush landscape with large and ornate buildings housing numerous wineries where you can not only enjoy a wine tasting but also a number of incredible art exhibitions.

On arriving in the Napa Valley we were completely overwhelmed with the sheer volume of places to visit. So much so that we decided to hit our Lonely Planet guide for the first time on our trip. Lonely Planet recommends Pride Wines as did our tour company The American Road Trip Company. Two recommendations and a couple of tweets later we were booked in for the following day.

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The drive up to Pride Wines is spectacular with some very windy roads and the winery itself sits on the county line of Sonoma and Napa. In fact, there is a visible line on the floor where the county line meets and the winery has to declare the wine grown on each county separately. I’d have taken a photo of the line had I not let out a squeal of excited wine geekery at seeing grapes being crushed straight from the vineyard.

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I love seeing where produce comes from and as a lover of wine this made my day. Living in England means this isn’t something we see very often. Yes we have some good wines being made here but they are predominantly in the South of the country and I haven’t managed to get down there yet to witness the process for myself.

We started the tour meeting our guide Jason and sampling a particularly good viognier. Fairly dark in colour the viognier had a wonderful apricot aroma whilst citrus notes were present on the palate with a lightly oaked finish. I’d have been perfectly happy to relax with the rest of the bottle but duty calls and a tour of the wine caves beckoned. And yes I was overly excited at the prospect.

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As we wandered the candlelit caves lined by barrels Jason talked about Pride Mountain, the different vintages and how the different soil samples across the Napa Valley create such different and interesting wines. I listened but I have to say I was distracted by the staff filling the barrels and moving them to their resting place. Not in a negative way I’d like to add, it was truly fascinating to watch a working winery in action and see just how much of this is prepared by hand. Prior to starting this blog I was the sort of person who was happy with a 3 for £10 deal on wine at Asda. Obviously times have changed and I now source my wine in different ways but the hard work that goes into this process shows just where your money goes when investing in a good quality wine. Pride Mountain wine was in fact served during Christmas dinner at the White House, well if it is good enough for Mr Obama….

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The weather has a huge effect on the grapes and how they grow. Jason demonstrated this by letting us try two cabernet sauvignon wines from different years. Until this point I had never really considered the year of growing too much but wow, there was a marked difference. The first was light, fruity with little tannin whilst the second was so dark you couldn’t see through it when holding it to the light. The tannins were much more pronounced and there were more spicy notes at the back of the throat. Both beautiful and the group were divided in their opinion of favourites. I preferred the second with most opting for the first. Jason discussed 2014 and believes, when the wine is ready to be drank, it’ll be an exceptional one due to warm weather with a little rain to keep things going nicely.

As we walked the wine caves we could hear music wafting through the tunnels and Jason explained the staff took it in turns to decide what they were going to play that day. He talked about Sally Johnson who is the wine maker here and responsible for blending the grapes to create the perfect tasting wine, a job which may sound fun but I can imagine is incredibly hard work at the same time.

Jason let us drop by the VIP tasting room to see the views of the vineyards from the terrace and then ushered us back into the main tasting room to try a very special brandy infused dessert wine.

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As we bid farewell Jason encouraged us to have a look around the grounds and take in the sheer beauty of this stunning mountain top location. We had bought cakes earlier in the day so found the most beautiful picnic spot next to an old building to enjoy them. The end to a perfect afternoon where we were introduced to some particularly stonking wines. My only disappointment is that, as far as I am aware, Pride Mountain wines can’t be bought in the UK. As you can imagine it is now my duty to try and change that.

Tours cost $25 and last around an hour. You need to book in advance but can do so via email on the Pride Wines website.

Address: 4026 Spring Mountain Road, St Helena, CA, 94574.
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/PrideMtnSally

Massive thanks to Sally for sorting this tasting and tour for us at such short notice. We weren’t asked to pay for our tour however that has not affected my opinion of this incredible place.

Food Review: Breakfast at TGI Friday’s Fast Track at Manchester Piccadilly

How many times have you rocked up at a train station and found yourself having to spend ages passing time. I usually do this on my phone in a mediocre Starbucks wasting money on drinks I don’t even enjoy.

Things are looking up at Manchester Piccadilly and there have been some superb additions in the last few months including Carluccio’s and The Hourglass. Amongst the newcomers is TGI Friday’s Fast Track and I popped in early one morning to try their fast track breakfast service where they promised to have food to us within 10 minutes of ordering.

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We kicked things off with a cappuccino and a flat white. The second day of jet lag is an absolute killer and my new found love of coffee was the only thing that was going to get me through a long day at a travel conference in London. The cappuccino was ok but not as hot as I would have liked. I think they took the fast track thing a little too seriously with this one! I believe the flat white hit the mark with Charlie though.

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I opted for the Cajun chicken hash at £7.99 whilst Charlie wanted something heavier and decided to try the American breakfast at £9.99. The chicken was a little dry in my hash yet lightly spiced topped with two runny eggs meaning my plan to leave a lot of the potatoes went out of the window. The introduction of eggs benedict fries at Splendid Sausage means runny yolk dripping onto potato products is a firm favourite of mine. Charlie’s breakfast was vast and well cooked yet all a little too sweet together with candied bacon, an American pancake and sweetened BBQ baked beans. It was much more up my street being the one with the sweet tooth.

We were in, fed and out within 30 minutes which is pretty good going considering we can talk for England. There’s an array of technology for the commuter including wifi, usb charging sockets and numerous regular power sockets for all those iPhone users trying to get near the 2 plugs near the ticket office. Yes, I’ve been there. As well as a decent breakfast menu there’s a fast track lunch/dinner menu too as well as a cocktail list and a selection of desserts. The promise of a cocktail near a power socket beats anywhere else to go whilst waiting for a train in Piccadilly for me, hands down.

We dined as guests of TGI Friday’s and weren’t asked to pay for our meal. As always this is an honest review and I’ll be back next time I’m ridiculously early to grab a bite… and charge my phone.

Guest Post: Southern Eleven Preview

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Southern Eleven has been in Manchester for a while now, but recently it closed for a refurb and a relaunch. Last Thursday Mr W and I were invited to preview the restaurant, before it opened at the weekend. Upon arrival we were greeted with fizz and a giant bear! Isn’t he cool?! (Just checked Twitter whilst writing this I’ve now found out his name is Hercules!)

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Southern Eleven now definitely plays to it’s theme. The new look restaurant houses rustic hard-wood tables, tube lights, exposed hanging light bulbs and comfy chairs that fit with an American BBQ style, but without being too contrived or gaudy. The lighting and seating arrangement also allows for an intimate meal in an open planned room.

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Mr W and I sat on down on the comfy sofa seats to the side of the restaurant and enjoyed plenty of fizz top ups. The place filled very quickly with people cooing over the refurb and getting their pictures taken with Hercules!

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Whilst we were sat down and being treated to fizz top ups, canapés of the new Southern Eleven menu were brought around too. From brisket, to BBQ bean filled potato skins and pulled pork sliders we tried them out. The brisket definitely won Mr W and I over, not too smokey with a hint of a sweet BBQ flavour, the corn bread was delicious too (much to my surprise as I’m usually not a big fan). We eventually managed to try some mini brownies, but not any other desserts as we just weren’t quick enough! I must apologise for the lack of food photos, it was so dark and flash makes food look awful!

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Pulled Pork Slider

Reading the full menu there are a lot of staple American BBQ delights on offer. But what we really liked was the customisable Southern Eleven Burger that starts naked so you can can add whatever you want from pulled pork to burnt ends and even fried chicken (plus LOTS more). Mr W really liked this idea and I’m sure we will be back to check it out properly!

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We were also given plenty of the Boston Iced Tea cocktail to try out. This delicious drink is a bourbon, cherry and iced tea mix, we really enjoyed it! The rest of the drinks menu looks pretty good too with cosmopolitans, Dr Pepper cocktails and many more on offer.

I just want to thank Nathan from Southern Eleven and Eleri from Rococo Group MCR for the invite, as well as all the staff which made the evening such a fun event. We will definitely be back soon!

MissPond x

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All food and drink provided was free of charge, however this doesn’t ensure a positive review. In this case what we sampled of Southern Eleven was good, Mr W and I will be back in the future.

Guest Post: Smoothie Wars with Nutri Ninja

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Hi it’s MissPond again! This time I’m here to talk smoothies. The other day I was invited to test out the Ninja Kitchen Nutri Ninja and battle it out for the title Queen of the smoothies in the #SmoothieWars. We were invited to The Post Box Cafe in Chorlton for the battle. The Post Box team were more than welcoming and helped put on a fantastic evening for us :)

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We were given a large Nutri Ninja glass and a wide range of fruit, veg and oddities to choose from to make our smoothies. There was vodka, chocolate and fruit syrups too, but I didn’t pick any of those. Now I want to admit here, that I’m not a giant smoothie fan, I’ve not joined the trend that everyone seems to have recently. But I joined in the competition with an open mind and ready to try new things!

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We had 10 minutes to pick our ingredients before we then blended our smoothies and tried each other’s out. I picked handfuls of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, chopped fresh pineapple, chopped fresh orange, chopped fresh apple, a slice of tomato, 2 small kiwis and some spinach leaves! Personally from me I dislike bananas in smoothies, so I kept well away from them. I also kept away from the kale, beetroot and broccoli!

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We had a short break for some delicious canapés from The Post Box Cafe. We had blinis of smoked salmon and cream cheese, steak and cheese and brie and cranberry, all combinations that feature in sandwiches available at the cafe. The food was tasty and I definitely have to go back and try the full versions!

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After food we then got blending our smoothies. The Nutri Ninja takes 49 seconds to blend a smoothie (there is also a slightly longer ultra blend option for trickier ingredients). We were then handed everyone’s smoothies to try and we scored each other :)

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There were some interesting combinations, I’m pretty sure chocolate doesn’t work very well in a smoothie. I personally preferred some of the more tarter flavoured smoothies, I’m not too keen on overly sweet drinks. But I did find some new ingredients that I enjoy in smoothies, even avocado, maybe not so much ginger (ask Sarah about #gingergate!) Well done to Kat from Rainbow Crush for winning the war though, I did really enjoy your smoothie as much as I enjoyed my own :)

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Thanks to Cass (from Coffee Pot Digital), The Post Box Cafe team for being so hospitable and providing a great venue for the event, also a huge thanks to Ninja Kitchen UK. Thanks for all the goodies and I really cannot wait to try out my own Nutri Ninja smoothie maker, expect lots of recipes on my blog soon!

MissPond x

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I was invited to this event and provided with all the ingredients to make smoothies, all opinions as ever are my own.

Guest Post: EastZEast Christmas Menu Preview

Hi I’m Miss Pond, I usually blog over at misspond.com, but today I am taking over Keeley’s blog to talk about one of my favourite foods, curry!

Earlier this week saw the preview of the EastZEast Christmas menu at their Manchester Riverside Restaurant. I decided to take Mr W with me, as he is a definite curry fiend! When we arrived at the restaurant we were greeted with cocktails at the very opulent bar; I went for the Passion Fruit Collins, whereas Mr W went with the Lynchburg Lemonade. We both agreed that we should’ve chosen the opposite cocktail! The passion fruit was a little too sweet for me, whereas I loved the Bourbon kick to the lemonade. After a bit of time relaxing at the bar and chatting with the other bloggers there, we were then ushered into the most wonderful private dining room for our special dinner.

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The evening at EastZEast started with an introduction from the manager who offered us a sample menu so we could each try a selection of the available starters and mains on the Christmas Menu. For the starters we had the typical curry house options, the Onion Bhaji and Vegetable Samosas as well as Tandoori Grilled Lamb Chop and Chicken. The Samosa was lightly spiced and very tasty, whereas the Bhaji had a good kick to them! The Chicken Tandoori and Lamb Chop were delicately marinated and very tender, Mr W was impressed. After much deliberation Mr W and I concluded that we both enjoyed the Bhaji most, mainly for the kick. But we recommend trying everything with the garlic pickle too, it was the most wonderful accompaniment!

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Out of all 3 of the curries we tried, the Balti Seafood was my favourite and different to what I would normally pick, it was packed with prawns that were cooked to perfection. The sauce with the chicken Murgh Tikka Makhani was amazing, it was just lacking a few vegetables for me. Lastly the Lamb Sookah Bunah was a very typical curry house curry, but very tasty and the lamb was unbelievably tender. Our curries were accompanied with rice and naan bread, which were very tasty too.

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Lastly we got to pick a dessert, Mr W and I both went for the Chocolate Cheesecake with Ferrero Rocher Ice Cream, due to our chocaholic tendencies. As expected the dessert was ok, but not the stand out of the three courses, which by far was the other two courses! To be honest we never usually order dessert with a curry, but the Christmas Menu includes 3 courses!

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Whilst the food EastZEast served up was delicious and enjoyable, I wish we’d have been able to sample more of the Christmas themed options from the full Christmas menu. The Turkey Handi and Saffron Turkey Biryani sound delicious and obviously keep in with the seasonal theme.

For those interested in organising their office Christmas party or a get together with friends in the holidays for an alternate Christmas dinner do check out the Full Christmas EastZEast  Menu here. The menu comes in at £21.95 per person and is available from 1st December – 31st December.

MissPond x

All food provided was free of charge, however this doesn’t ensure a positive review. In this case the food and service were both good, Mr W and I will be back in the future.

Guest Post: RMK Creamy Foundation Review

Hi my name is Andrea and I would like to thank Keeley for inviting me to gust blog while she is away on holiday.  I have a beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog over at http://www.andreasmake-upartistry.blogspot.co.uk where I also talk of my new career as a makeup artist.  Feel free to drop by and have a read.
Today I am looking at the RMK Creamy Foundation in shade 103, SPF 15 RRP £35.00 for 30g.
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Keeley kindly sent me this sample to test out in order to write this review.  OMG! I am in love with this foundation.  Whilst undoubtedly at the higher end of the cosmetics spectrum with it’s £35.00 price tag, if you are in the market for a luxurious foundation then I strongly recommend you try this one out. I honestly do not think you will be disappointed.
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Creamy is definitely an apt way of describing this foundation as that’s exactly the consistency it has. It is not too thick however, and doesn’t feel mask like on the face … in fact it feels quite moisturising.  After writing these last 2 sentences I looked at the official description for this foundation as posted on the Selfridges website. Here is what it says -
“This Creamy Foundation from RMK glides over your skin, creating a natural dewy finish with exquisite balance between coverage and translucency. It hydrates your skin with its high water-retention oil formula, and the stretch powder particles fit your skin surface perfectly to create a fresh finish that lasts for hours”
So the moisturising feel I mentioned is obviously the high water retention oil formula.  I can also attest to the fact that this foundation stays put all day (though I do use Becca Radiance Primer).  Let’s see this foundation in action.
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Skin just prepped and primed (sorry – my skin sans makeup is not the nicest thing to look at!)
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After applying RMK Creamy Foundation – no other makeup (I know, I know, I should have smiled!). I think you can see here that my skin is more even, my pores not as noticeable and my skin just looks overall less dull.
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I’m just so happy with the finished effect of this foundation. My skin looks and feels dewy and healthy and other makeup applies lovely on top.  When the sample size I have runs out, I will seriously consider purchasing the full size bottle if this foundation. Admittedly it’s a bit over my budget at the moment but  I would save it for best so that it lasts longer – I think it’s definitely worth having.
Have you used this foundation before? If so what do you think of it? If not is it something you like the sound and look of?
Thanks for reading
Andrea x

Beauty Review: Barry M Super Chic Shadow and Primer Palette

Can I suggest if you are trying not to spend money on beauty products that you don’t dare venture into Superdrug with Anoushka and Gem. I mean it. These two ladies know so much about what it good out there right now that any recommendations they have will leave you with bulging shopping bags and an empty wallet.

Determined not to spend a fortune I wandered around the displays with them commenting on how pretty things were until I was faced with an offer to good to miss… spend £7  on Barry M and get a free mascara. I’m a sucker for a new mascara and hadn’t tried Showgirl before (review coming soon). Then Gem commented on how good their palettes are supposed to be and I just caved completely.

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I wanted to try a palette with colours I don’t tend to go for normally. I use Urban Decay Naked 2 palette on a daily basis and I love my Kat Von D Chrysalis palette for more dramatic evening looks but if I was buying yet another palette, it had to be different. I stepped away from the natural palettes and chose the brightest one I could find. For me that was the limited edition super chic palette.

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The packaging is much smaller than the other palettes I own and a lot lighter, perfect for popping into a travel bag when you don’t want to take up too much weight and space. I thought this would mean it was a little more flimsy than the others but it isn’t and the packaging has held up well to me trying to bend it out of shape.

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Inside you will find six shimmer eye shadow shades, an eye primer and two foam applicators. I’m not a fan of applicators like this and much prefer a brush but then I have a huge makeup brush collection as it is so I didn’t need another one in this palette.

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The shades are really pretty starting with a glittery slightly pink tinged white, a bold turquoise, a graphite grey with a blue shimmer, a glittery gold, warm bronze and a dark purple with gold shimmer.

The swatch above it two swipes of each colour to show the pigmentation and intensity of some of the colours. I personally don’t really like the glittery shades but am totally in love with the other four shades. They are bold, statement colours that glide onto the eyelids with ease and stay put when using the primer. I have to say I’ve used a few eye primers in my time but haven’t found one I like more than this as yet. It is also perfect that it forms part of this set so I don’t need to carry two products around with me all the time, bonus! Whilst I am not a fan of the glittery shades I find they look really pretty layered over the bolder colours to give a different finish. At £6.49 this palette is a bargain! The longevity and pigmentation of the colours easily rivals those in my Urban Decay palettes at a snip of the price. I’m totally within my rights to blame Gem for further purchases right? Oh and if you haven’t already make sure you check out these ladies blogs… they’re awesome.

This product was paid for in full. I wish I didn’t like it as much as I do as I can see me returning to buy the full range.

Beauty Review: Makeup Revolution Focus and Fix Brow Kit

The main reason I started writing beauty stuff on my blog is my obsession with trying new products. The latest mascara, the ‘wonder’ eyeliner? Yep I’ve bought and tried them all. So it will come as no surprise that with the beauty blogger hype over Makeup Revolution it was only a matter of time until I succumbed to my curiousity and bought something. I was quite controlled though and only really crumbled when I saw the ridiculous price of the Focus and Fix brow kit. I never do anything with my eyebrows and have been searching for the perfect fool proof product to give them a bit more shape and fullness. At just £2.50 I had nothing to lose.

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The kit is very similar to the Chanel Le Sourcil De Chanel with its three shades of powder, mini brush and mini tweezers. It is missing the mini brow brush but has a fixing wax instead, something I find much more useful. I went for the dark kit as I have quite dark eyebrows but I was worried that this would mean any mistakes would be harder to disguise.

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I actually prefer the brush in this kit to the one in the Chanel kit as it is that bit softer making it easy to work with. The tweezers are a bit pointless to be honest, they aren’t sharp enough to get out the pesky little hairs and if you I was plucking my eyebrows properly I’d use my normal sized tweezers anyway.

The powder shades compliment each other well and are really blendable so, if none of the shades match your brows perfectly, you can create your own colour by mixing them. I find the lightest and the middle shade the perfect colour for my brows as the darker shade is a bit too warm for my eyebrows. When I used that shade they had a slightly orangey tinge which I obviously didn’t want. The pigment is also good with just a couple of swipes in each pan to get the desired coverage and shape on my eyebrows. The thing I love about this kit is that you can work with the powder to get the perfect shape, touching it up as you go, then once your ready top it with the setting wax to keep it in place. I find this allows me to mess about removing bits easily before committing my face to the shape I have created, a huge selling point for brow virgins like me! And at £2.50, if you aren’t sold on it, you haven’t lost that much. I mean the Chanel palette is £40 and I have that in my makeup case because my mum bought it and decided she didn’t like it… that’s one expensive mistake.

Now if I can ignore the pretty eye shadow palettes before my road trip….

This item was paid for in full. This is my honest opinion of the kit and I only wish my Mum had seen it before she saw the Chanel one.

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