A Stay at Jesmond Dene House*

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Just over a fortnight ago, I took a week off work for the first time in what felt like a lifetime. Realistically, it’s more like a year, since I had so much time off, but it was very much needed! To make best use of the time, we decided on a bit of a road trip to explore down south and see a little more of England.

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Whenever I have a spare weekend, I tend to find myself in Cheshire, so, on this trip, I wanted to venture a little further afield. The first stop was the stunning Jesmond Dene House located in the centre of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I’ve never really visited Newcastle before (unless a school choir competition counts), and since it’s only about a two hour drive from Edinburgh I don’t really have an excuse, but since visiting the stunning Jesmond Dene House, I think I’ll be back far more regularly!

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The hotel is situated in the centre of the city, within a stunning parkland. It was built as a mansion for a Victorian industrialist, and you can only imagine our oohs and ahhs as we drew up in the pouring rain. The hotel is a study in Arts & Crafts architecture, and is absolutely stunning. After trying to dodge the rain to take a few photos, were were ushered inside by the concierge, who whisked away our bags, and showed us to our room.

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Honestly, the welcome couldn’t have been warmer, and it was absolutely fascinating  to learn about the history of the house. There are nods to the property’s history throughout – with photographs on the walls and original features in some of the bedrooms.

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We were shown to room 2, located just off the lobby, with views to the back garden, it was the perfect spot to spend a rainy evening.

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The room was previously a library, and benefits from almost double-height ceilings, turreted seating area, and copious original features. It was an absolute gem, and we couldn’t have been happier with it!

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I was absolutely obsessed with the nook, which overlooked the gardens. It was such a cosy little spot to answer emails and enjoy the rain pounding outside.

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The room is fully stocked with everything you could possibly need. The wifi was super fast, and, importantly for a hotel, free of charge, and the cupboard was filled with fluffy robes, a mini bar and complimentary coffee and tea. Needless to say, we fixed ourselves a few cups of tea and settled down to enjoy watching the rain outside.

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The room was wondrously spacious and benefits from a double bed, which can be split into two singles depending on your needs. Swathed in super-soft white linens, they were absolutely heavenly, and so comfortable to lounge on!

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I loved the mix of contemporary decor within the traditional room, and it was the perfect place to relax and begin to unwind.

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After arriving we had a couple of hours to fill before our supper reservation (more on that tomorrow!), so I did what anyone would, and drew myself a long, hot bubble bath.

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You can see why I wanted to spend so much time in the bathroom – it was stunning! With a huge bath which was perfect for wallowing in, as well as a double sized shower and two sinks, it was absolutely heavenly!

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The bath was set beneath an original doorway, and getting to soak in a bath whilst sitting under all the carving was absolutely glorious! Despite being pretty much in the centre of town, the hotel was so tranquil, it was the perfect place to begin our vacation!

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Soon though, it was time to tear myself away from the room, for supper, which we enjoyed in the hotel’s dining room. Jesmond Dene is probably best known for it’s restaurant which has been awarded with 3 AA rosettes. Honestly, it was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time (and you can read about it tomorrow) and I can see why it’s so beloved.

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Positively stuffed, we were thankful that the room was only a few footsteps away, and sank into the beds. Perfectly comfortable, we both remarked on how well we slept, and how cosy the hotel felt.

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All too soon though, it was time for breakfast, which we enjoyed in the conservatory. Still full from dinner the night before, we didn’t really take advantage of the breakfast like we should have. Guests are free to choose hot items from the menu (there are mouth-watering options including French Toast and Porridge which is served with a hint of Single-Malt Whisky and stewed fruits) or from the buffet – there really is more than enough choice for everyone.

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The buffet is a Continental affair, with a wide array of yogurts, breads, cereals, patisseries, meats and cheeses. I so wish I had been able to squeeze in a pain au chocolate or muffin, as they looked and smelled absolutely divine!

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Despite the array, we chose to keep it simple, ordering black coffee and orange juice, and sharing a plate of smoked salmon and watermelon.

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Despite sounding simple, they’re some of my favourite breakfast foods in the world, and so easy to get wrong. At Jesmond Dene, however, they were perfection. The coffee was delicious, and strong enough to shake off any morning snooziness, whilst the orange juice was freshly squeezed and wonderfully zesty.

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Our watermelon was perfect – firm and juicy, with wonderful flavour, and I’m still dreaming about the smoked salmon! Home cured in dill, it was rich and flavoursome, and the perfect way to round off a truly enjoyable stay.

We both had an absolutely wonderful stay at Jesmond Dene House, and are already looking at dates for our return! Our stay was complimentary, but the room rate was £250 per night including breakfast.

 

 

Clean Reserve Warm Cotton Eau de Parfum*

fullsizeoutput_a0bWhen it comes to wearing perfumes, I tend to fall squarely into two categories – citrus or white flowers. Both feel fresh and clean, and I absolutely adore fragrances which smell a bit soapy. I know it’s a bit boring, but I love how fresh they make me feel, and obviously I’m not the only one, as Clean Reserve have created an entire fragrance line based on life’s most beautiful smells.

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I was kindly sent Warm Cotton which is part of the Reserve line. To be honest, I was a little dubious about how alluring smelling of cotton could really be. I have to say though, I’m a complete convert! The perfume smells absolutely glorious, and yes, it smells exactly like freshly washed sheets taken out of the tumble dryer!

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Smelling like freshly laundered linen might not sound too exciting, but I have become absolutely obsessed with the stuff that practically every person I’ve come into contact with has been given a sniff of the bottle. It’s so fresh and so clean, meaning it’s perfect for misting on during the day, and it never feels overpowering or like it’s too much.

fullsizeoutput_a0eMisted onto clean skin, I can still grasp traces of it well into the evening, and I love how beautifully warm it smells. It’s so comforting and soothing, it’s perfect to wear when I know I’m going to be a little stressed out, or if I’m travelling. In addition to smelling absolutely wonderful, the perfume notes, as well as the packaging is completely eco-friendly so there isn’t a hint of guilt when I reach for this bottle. (which I do. Alot)

 

Clean Reserve Eau de Parfum in Warm Cotton is priced at £79 and is available here UK and here (US)

MUA Luxe Velvet Lip Lacquer*

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Happy Halloween! In case you haven’t noticed, today is quite possibly my favourite day of the year. I’ve had pumpkins carved for the past week, I spent yesterday enjoying ice cream eyeballs, and baking and icing multiple pumpkin loaves, and candy is all ready in buckets for marauding children tonight. Weirdly though, I’m not the biggest fan of getting costumed-up. I always just feel a bit weird in them, so instead, I’ve made a habit of just popping on a cute dress (in black of course) and vamping up my makeup.

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MUA is making it super simple to darken up my normal look with their Velvet Lip Lacquers. I was kindly sent three of their spookiest shades – Flair was the first one which grabbed my attention. It’s a stunning blackened red shade which is just glamour personified.

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For someone like me, who hasn’t really jumped on board the matte lip train quite yet, I was excited to give the formula a go, and I’ve been seriously impressed! The formula glides on, with real colour payoff, meaning lips are evenly coloured in a single swipe.

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I thought that the texture of the Lip Lacquers would be heavy and tacky, but instead they just glide on, feeling incredibly lightweight. Firecracker is a rich, pink toned red which is absolutely stunning.

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It’s a real glamour puss shade, which will look as pretty on a night out as it will during Halloween!

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Last up is Potent, which is a rich charcoal. To say it’s far from my normal choice of lipstick is a bit of an understatement. On the lips it’s rich and deep, and incredibly vampy.

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When wearing it, I do feel the need to wear a little extra under eye concealer, but it’s so fun to wear that it’s worth it!

MUA Velvet Lip Lacquers are priced at a teeny £3.00 each and available here.

Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics*

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I think that Urban Decay’s NAKED palette was the first makeup item which I became a bit obsessed with. I hummed and hawed until NAKED 2 came out, then I literally ran to my nearest Sephora. I’ve used the same palette an absolute tonne since then, and I’ve gone on to collect the original palette, and the Smoky has also found its way into my collection. All three of them are perfect for nailing a flattering eye look.

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My newest addition to my collection is the brand new NAKED Ultimate Basics palette which is a masterpiece in understated matte nudes, which can be worn subtly, or amped up for a seriously sexy eye look.

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The top row is dominated by cool nudes, which move from Blow, a neutral shimmer (the palettes only shade with any sort of sheen; to Lethal, a stunning chocolatey-plum which is a shade I love to smudge into my lashes as a liner. I tend to stick to the top row in the mornings, when I’m looking to create an easy, natural, but still pulled together look. Commando dusted over the lid, with Tempted in the crease, Lethal in the lash line, with Blow on my brow bone feels super chic.

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The bottom row is filled with the palette’s warmer shades, which feel absolutely perfect to be wearing during the autumn! Some of my favourites in the lineup include Extra-Bitter which is a stunning red-toned mahogany shade, which is a surprising must-have for blue-eyed girls! I love it smudged into my crease on days where I’m feeling like I need a little warmth in my makeup. Faith and Lockout are two chocolatey browns which are stunningly rich in colour.

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I don’t think that it would be an Urban Decay palette without a double ended  brush included, and NAKED Ultimate Basics is no different. This time the brush is a smidge smaller than regular, but it’s a really great little tool. One ended is a short-bristled smudge brush which is perfect for creating a beautiful lived-in eye look.

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The other end is is longer, and fluffier, and is great for getting shadow all over the lid. The bristles, like all UD brushes, are acrylic and super, super soft.

Urban Decay’s NAKED Ultimate Basics palette is a new addition to their permanent line, and is priced at £38.50. You can find it here (UK) and here (US).

Ford Farm Cheesemakers Truffler English Cheddar*

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When it comes to cozy evenings in, I’m not sure if you can beat a great cheese board. A few good cheeses, a sprinkling of crackers and some fruit is deceptively simple, yet incredibly satisfying. Add in a glass of champagne or prosecco, and I’m in heaven! So, when I was sent some Truffler English Cheddar from Dorset Ford Farm, I couldn’t wait to give it a go.

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Ford Farm’s Truffler is a rich and creamy cheddar is studded with Black Truffle.The moment it’s out in the open, all you can smell is truffle, and it’s really dreamy. Rich and savoury, it’s just the thing if you’re in the mood for something decadent. I first paired it was wheaten crackers, grapes and pear, and it was delightful.

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The next day, though, when I was scouring the fridge for an easy supper, I happened upon a remaining chunk of the Truffle. Finely grated, I turned it into the most gourmet of toasties, andI have to say, it was rather impressive. The cheddar melted beautifully, and turned wonderfully gooey, whilst the bread stayed satisfyingly crisp. I’m already getting an order together, and I don’t want to mention the ‘C’ word too soon, but Truffle would make a rather perfect addition to a festive spread!

Ford Farms Truffler is priced from £2.00 per pack and is available here

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