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When it comes to products, I’m guilty of sticking to a pretty neutral (and repetitive) colour palette. If it’s eyeshadow, it’s going to be a cool-toned taupe, if it’s mascara it’s black, and if it’s a lipstick or gloss, it’s usually clear or nude. It means getting ready is easy, but every so often, I can feel a little bored with my old faithfuls. So, when stunning shades like By Terry’s Orchid Cream pop up, it can feel like kismet. Especially at this time of year, when I’m starting to add a little more colour into my every day.

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One of 16 shades available in the By Terry Lip-Expert Shine collection, No 11 Orchid Cream is a stunning purple/pink shade which is just aching to be worn on sunny spring days. Slightly blue in tone, if you were a fan of Mac’s Snob lipstick, this feels like it’s more grown up (and glossier) cousin. Described as a ‘vinyl lipstick’ by the brand, it’s a gloss where you can very much control the colour payoff. Applied to the lips and blended with a finger, the Lip-Expert Shine leaves lips with a subtle wash of colour and shine, whilst applied directly with the doe foot applicator, The wear-time, for a lip gloss is excellent, especially when applied directly – I can easily get two or three hours of wear before needing to reapply. On the lips, the formula feels glossy and balmy, yet it’s incredibly lightweight and not at all sticky or gloopy. It also smells divine – a lightly floral, violent scent.

All in all, By Terry’s Liquid Lipsticks are among my favourites! They’re priced at £29 each and available here (UK) and here (US)

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It can feel like every time you visit Edinburgh, there is a new spot to visit, and as a result, my wish list of haunts grows longer by the week. One of the spots on my hit list was Otro,  a stunning Italian restaurant set in the heart of the Capital’s West End. I’d heard so many people rave about their a la carte options as well as their Sunday lunches, so when an invitation to join them for an evening of wine and cheese popped up, I couldn’t resist!

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The evening, held in association with independent Scottish wine merchants L’Art du Vin and fromage icons I.J Mellis Cheesemongers, was just the ticket for a chilly mid-week evening. As someone who loves a good cheese, but isn’t the world’s biggest wine aficionado, I always appreciate a little guidance on what goes with what, and my evening at Otro did not disappoint.

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Although Otro don’t seem to host these wine and cheese evenings regularly, all the wines served are on their wine list, and staff have all been trained to know exactly what goes with what, so you’ll be in good hands when you visit.

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We kicked off proceedings with a Ragstone Goat Cheese and Fendant, les Deux Cimes, Valais – a Swiss white wine grown by a Scotsman. The pairing was divine, and the wine my favourite. Dry and zesty, it was an easy drink which I kept returning to throughout the night. It paired with with the tang of the Ragstone, and cut through the cheese’s creaminess.

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Next up was the Tunworth Brie which we enjoyed with Le Joufflu – a rich well-bodied red. Although not technically a brie (the Tunworth is English after all), it is a wonderfully savoury option which I regularly pick up from Mellis’ St. Andrews location. The wine is from a niche grower, who have their own Parisian wine bar located in the Marais, so getting to try it felt like such a treat!

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The most traditional of the cheeses on offer was Barwhey’s Cheddar – a rich and creamy cheddar which feels absolutely made to be enjoyed as part of a Ploughman’s Lunch. Served alongside Mellis’ own Beetroot Relish it was really special. Served alongside  Hacienda Grimon, the pairing  packed a serious amount of flavour.

The evening finished with Bleu de Causses paired with an absolutely delicious Maury, Domain Lefage. The mix of rich blue cheese and sweet dessert wine was perfectly balanced, and I loved how the cheese didn’t feel too overpowering. It felt like a perfect way to end an evening, and we’re already planning a return visit!

Thank you to Otro for hosting the event, you can find out more about the restaurant here.

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When it comes to skincare, my favourite thing in the world is a truly great exfoliation. It leaves skin soft, smooth and glowing, but I also love to feel silky softness a good scrub gives skin. So, I absolutely jumped at the chance to try the rather iconic ExfoliKate – an intensive exfoliating skin treatment.

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Since Christmas, I’ve been getting salon exfoliation treatments every two weeks or so, and in the meantime, I’ve been using the ExfoliKate to extend my results. Once or twice a week, when my skin is starting to feel a little dull, I make sure to give my skin a good cleanse, then slap on the ExfoliKate. It’s not called a ‘Hollywood Facial’ for nothing, and if you’re not a fan of products you can feel working, this might not be the scrub for you. I love a product which tingles though, so it’s right up my street. Rather than relying on physical or chemical exfoliants, the ExfoliKate has both.

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The green formula includes lactic acid as well as fruit enzymes, which work with the gritty texture to leave skin radiant. It only takes two minutes to get to work on the skin – I tend to massage it into the skin for the first 30-40 seconds or so, then leave it, then wash off using warm water and clean flannel, following the treatment up with a good whack of an intensive moisturiser (Weleda’s Skin Food is a real favourite). The result is skin which looks and feels fresh and glowing. Since the ingredients are pretty active, I wouldn’t use it any more regularly than once per week without fear of causing a flareup, but it’s perfect to use the night before an event or meeting, and I wouldn’t be without a tube of it now!

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate is priced at £72 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

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Outside of Edinburgh and Glasgow, Manchester is probably my most-visited area. Not the city perhaps, but I’ve been finding myself in nearby Cheshire almost monthly. It’s a lovely spot, so whenever I get the chance to visit, I jump, and I’m always on the lookout for a great place to stay. Last week, we made a weekend of the drive, and booked into Hotel Indigo Manchester – Victoria Station, one of the city’s newest hotels, and I’m glad to say, we were not disappointed!

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Located in the very heart of the city, and literally only steps from the Victoria train station, the building used to be a tea office, with a modern addition tacked on, and if you’re looking for a centrally located hotel in Manchester, this is the one for you!

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The rooms reflect the history of the building, and ours, a King, was located in the original building, and previously a tea office – hence the adorable Alice in Wonderland-esque decorations. Hotel Indigo Manchester only opened a few months back, and as a result the hotel still feels wonderfully crisp and new.

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Since we had been driving for hours to get down to Manchester (with a quick stop-off in Prestbury to see friends) the room was a welcome treat. The only downside was that we couldn’t use all the facilities – there is a 24 hour gym, a gorgeous restaurant (Mamucium) and there is even an on-site coffee shop which we managed to head to for breakfast the next morning.

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The design of the whole hotel, much like many of the new Hotel Indigo properties (you can read my thoughts on the beautiful Dundee property here) has been so well thought out. I loved the deep velvet and touches of marble in the room, but perhaps my favourite part was the bathroom.

With a rainfall shower decorated with the most adorable delft tiles, it was an absolutely glorious spot to wash away grime of travel. It was such a fun change from the usual white and marble bathrooms hotels tend to go for!

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Perhaps the only downside to the hotel is the lack of on-site parking, but Hotel Indigo do have a relationship with the NCP carparks nearby and offer reduced rates. Since it was dark, I managed to miss a turn, and ended up somewhere in the middle of the town, but head to the Arena carpark and you shouldn’t go wrong!

You can find out more about Hotel indigo Manchester – Victoria Station here

 

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When it comes to weekend beauty picks, I’m all about keeping things simple. Since work has been so busy recently, I’ve been enjoying the downtime weekends offer – longer lies, a more relaxed pace, and a chance to catch up on all those errands which build up during the week. As a result, I don’t really like getting too dolled up. I prefer just throwing my hair in a ponytail, and brushing on a bit of bronzer and a no-thought gloss. Which is where Bobbi Brown’s Crushed Liquid Lip in Juicy Date comes in.

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A warm, terracotta nude, it is the perfect shade for adding a little warmth and colour of days when I still want to feel groomed, but without the faff of a full face of makeup. Packaged in the line’s signature sleek packaging, the formula feels more like a light balm on the lips. For relaxed weekends I loved the Crushed Liquid Lip patted on with a finger, as it gives a beautiful diffused glow of colour, whilst on days I’m feeling a little more ‘done’ I apply it with the doe foot applicator for a stronger pop of colour.

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Whilst many liquid lipsticks can harden on the lips, leaving them looking and feeling dried out and thin – this one keeps a juicy finish. It’s comfortable to wear, and it truly feels weightless and balmy.

Bobbi Brown Crushed Liquid Lips are priced at £19 each and are available here (UK) and here (US)

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