Le Di Vin Edinburgh*

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Last week, when it came to Friday, I was more than in the mood for something of a jaunt in Edinburgh. I had had a seriously busy week at work, and had an equally packed schedule for the weekend (more on that to come) so finding a spot which felt both a touch celebratory whilst not too manic was a bit of a task. Le Di Vin though, had come highly recommended – a former church tucked in the city’s West End, it’s one of those places I’d been meaning to pop into for years.

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The building is divided into two sections, the rather marvellous sounding Le P’tite Folie is at the front of the building. With a menu hosting all my French favourites, I’m definitely heading back to try their menu, and there is even a Christmas menu, if you’re looking for something a little celebratory!

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Le Di Vin, where we were headed, is located in what was once the heart of the church. After pushing through the double doors, you’re met with an absolutely glorious space – the bar stretched along the left hand wall, whilst the city slickers perched on stools, savouring glasses of wine. There was a buzz of chatter and we were shown up to the mezzanine where we had an absolutely perfect spot to people watch for the evening.

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To be honest, I’m not the world’s biggest wine buff. Pass me a glass of prosecco or champagne and I’m good to go, but we opted for a bottle of Gran Hacienda, a Cabernet Sauvignon absolutely perfect for sipping on a rather rainy evening! Rich, fruity and absolutely delicious, I think I might be turned!

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Of course, we couldn’t enjoy a few glasses of wine on an empty stomach, so we sat on our sofas and pondered the menu. There is a surprisingly large selection on offer, especially during the day. You can even indulge in creme brûlée or stick toffee pudding!

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We decided to go for the Medium Mixed Charcuterie platter (£16) which paired perfectly with the wine. After a few minutes, our waitress arrived with an absolutely huge platter, positively groaning under all the goodies!

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We were presented with the perfect mix of meats and cheeses from which to choose – there was even something of a garlicky terrine and cornichon on which to munch, as well as a very generous basket filled with freshly baked bread and oatcakes.

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It was such a treat just to be able to sit back, relax, sip great wine and chat, all whilst enjoying the buzz of the bar below. There was a surprising mix of people there too – a couple of students were sitting on their laptops, studying and enjoying a glass of wine (why didn’t I think of that at uni?!) whilst tables around were a mix of friends, dates and work nights out.

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Since we had to head out early the next morning, we couldn’t spend quite the whole evening in La Di Vin (despite desperately wanting to), but heading out into the darkness was made so much better when we noticed the fairy lights which sparkled in the darkness. It was a magical end to the evening!

The very best of the Cotswolds*

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Getting to visit the Cotswolds last month was a bit of a dream. I’d been hankering after a visit after a couple of family friends had headed down, and hadn’t stopped talking about it. Located an easy two hours away from the centre of London, it’s a decently easy commute from the city, and it’s seriously worlds away.

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Bruern Cottage’s Cope residence was our base, and honestly, it couldn’t have been lovelier. A one bedroom cottage, with a log fireplace, and the most sublimely comfortable bed you can imagine, it was the coziest spot to spend an evening. Like all of the Bruern properties, the decoration of Cope was perfection – comfy sofas in front of the fire, led to a dining room big enough to host a dinner party. The use of antique furniture and lithographs from nearby Bruern Abby lent a dash of local history and elegance. The kitchen was equipped with all mod cons, and it was so much fun to be able to potter about, without feeling like we were stepping on anyone’s toes. Bruern have cottages which sleep up to 10 people, so if you’re planning a family getaway sometime soon, you know where to go!

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Ok, so not technically in the Cotswolds was The Fat Fox Inn in Watlington. Home of perhaps the best English Sunday Roast you can imagine, it is an absolutely picture-perfect pub and inn. Driving through the Oxfordshire countryside on a sunny afternoon was an absolute joy, and we were met by the friendliest of landlords and chefs you could wish for!

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Exposed beams, and mix and match chairs added to the sense of comfortable warmth, and it was the perfect spot to while away an afternoon. Only about an hour outside of London, if you’re looking for somewhere to head to on weekends, this is it. The menu is entirely seasonal, and makes use of the bountiful countryside, meaning all produce is local, sustainable and entirely delicious!

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Heading back into the Cotswolds, we couldn’t resist popping into The Maytime Inn. Dating back to the 17th century, I fell in love with the sandy-coloured stone and the promise of over 4o gins to choose from. We enjoyed a sunny hour in their famous beer garden, and made friends with resident pub-dog Alfie.

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Considering that Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourite books from childhood, I couldn’t not make a bit of a pilgrimage to The Perch in Oxford. Not only is it an absolutely picture-perfect inn (one of England’s oldest!) but it was the venue for Lewis Carroll’s very first public reading of the book!

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There are few spots surrounding The Perch which pop up in Wonderland, so after a bit of a stroll around town, we retired indoors to sample their lunch menu. Their menu is, as you might expect, locally sourced and filled with seasonal produce. We opted for River Fowey Mussels which were plump and sweet, as well as Braised Venison Suet Pie which was basically the dreamiest take on autumnal comfort food you can imagine.

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I had heard about The Ragged Cot from a few people, so we headed over for a bit of an afternoon pick-me-up before heading back up north. Their shed was the perfect spot to enjoy a light lunch, and I just adored the cute, eclectic decor, and the food was just a delight!

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We had also heard some seriously good things about The White House located in nearby Bladon. An absolutely adorable pub, with overflowing window flowers, we opted for a hearty supper. The owners took over in 2014, and since then, they have put their heart and soul into turning it into on of the Cotswolds’ best loved gems. The food was delicious – home-cooked and freshly prepared, the fish flaked beautifully, whilst dessert was an icy dream!

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The last place we popped into was The Fox Inn in Barrington. This was the absolute definition of old-school charm. Taking our seats at a scrubbed oak table, we fell in love with the exposed stone walls and open fireplace.

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The Inn was only a couple of minutes from Bruern, and we enjoyed hearty portions of homemade Cotswolds Shepherd’s Pie. Piles of creamy mashed potato was layered with rich, succulent lamb, creating a dish which was absolutely perfect for beating the autumn chill! The menu is filled with dishes that your granny would make, but a bit better. (although don’t tell her that!)

I was so surprised to see that there were so many places to go in the Cotswolds, and I’m already planning a return jaunt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosie for Autograph Lip Glossy – Supermodel Smile & My Best Girl Friend*

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In the past, M&S was somewhere to pop in and grab a couple of basics alongside your milk and eggs. But over the past few years, they’ve really expanded their empire. The stores, which used to feel rather dull and middle aged, are now host to a whole range of exciting beauty brands, and one I’ve been hearing amazing things about is Rosie for Autograph. The brainchild of supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whitely, the line features the most Instagram-worthy products all wrapped in glossy rose gold packaging.

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I was very kindly sent a couple of products to try, and I’ve been nothing but impressed. The first one I had to try were the two Lip Glossy sticks. a hybrid lipstick and gloss, which give lips a stunning slick of colour with a flattering glossy sheen. Supermodel Smile is the kind of shade that I just adore. The perfect mauve-pink, I love wearing it with a natural makeup look as it just brings a bit of life into my face. The texture is wonderfully balmy – it’s not in any way sticky or drying. Instead, it’s incredibly comfortable to wear, and wears for about two hours before the need to reapply.

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My Best Girl Friend is the second shade I got to try – a stunning peachy shade that I’m absolutely dying to wear with a tan! It’s a absolutely glorious shade, which is perfect for amping up my usual makeup choices. Like it’s mauve-y cousin, My Best Girl Friend has a seriously comfortable texture, and wear-time of about two hours.

The Rosie for Autograph Lip Glossy is priced at £12.50 and available here.

Bliss Lemon & Sage Body Scrub*

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At this time of year, it can be far too easy to put skincare on the back burner. It feels like months until I’ll have my legs out, and considering I’m in trousers or tights 100% of the time right now, it’s far too easy to let upkeep slide. A scrub though, like Bliss’ Lemon & Sage Body Scrub is just so wonderful to use, it makes keeping skin soft and smooth an absolute joy!

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Bliss’ Lemon & Sage scent is my absolute favourite from the lineup. It’s just so fresh and clean smelling – it’s exactly what I want to smell like in the morning, and it’s a perfect wakeup call! I’m just in love with the texture of the scrub too – it is wonderfully lightweight. The grains almost feel sandy, and it makes short work of rough arms and legs. A quick buff with the stuff leaves skin feelings super soft and smooth, and smelling absolutely divine!

Bliss Lemon & Sage Body Scrub is priced at £30 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Bobbi Brown Chocolate Eye Palette*

fullsizeoutput_a4d To say I have fallen deeply in love with Bobbi Brown’s Wine & Chocolate collection is something of an understatement. I’ve been wearing the Uber Nude lipstick (review here) most days, and their Brightening  Blush (review here) is pretty much the definition of stunning. So, when I got my paws on the new Chocolate Eyeshadow Palette, it was love at first sight.

fullsizeoutput_a4eBefore I even cracked the palette open, I was absolutely blown away with the packaging. The top is covered in embossed leather, complete with the Bobbi Brown crest. It’s like nothing else in my collection, and I think it just looks divine!

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Happily, the colour selection inside doesn’t disappoint. Despite feeling relatively sleek in size, the compact holds four good size eyeshadows, as well as a choice of three Intense Color Liners. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that Bobbi Brown don’t bother to include useless little tools, choosing to include product instead. It makes the palette feel like it’s far better value for money, not to mention I don’t need to scramble around for a hundred different liners first thing in the morning.

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The shadows themselves are everything you could wish for. Buttery smooth, with an insane colour payoff, I just adore how versatile the palette is. In the mornings, I sweep the bone coloured shade over the brow bone, and blend the matte taupe over the lid. I then use the brown liner shade to smudge into my lash line. It gives an easy, polished look which looks far more complicated than it actually is. For evenings, I like to pack the metallic copper onto my lid for a little subtle shimmer.

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The shade range of lining shades is super fun, and using the dark khaki or navy subtly changes my look depending on my mood. The shadows give eyes a stunning amount of definition, and it’s a palette I can see myself reaching for all winter long.

Bobbi Brown Chocolate Eye Palette is priced at £42.50 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

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