Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel*

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Whenever the festive season rolls around, I can’t resist popping into Lush and stocking up on a few bottles of their iconic Snow Fairy shower gel. It comes in a variety of sizes, is very pink, very sparkly and smells like bubblegum. It’s basically the best shower gel you can imagine, and when you wake up as early as I do – a fun shower gel is something of a must!

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Despite everyone asking Lush to make it a permanent feature, the company have made sure that you can only buy it at Christmas, which makes it feel a bit special. There’s nothing nicer than sudsing up in the shower, and it smells absolutely glorious – very bubblegum and there’s not a better way to start the morning!

Lush Snow Fairy is priced from £7.95 and is available here

 

Elizabeth Arden I Heart Eight Hour Cream*

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I’ve loved Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream for legitimately decades. It’s one of those products my mother always had tubes of, and since then, I’ve never been without the stuff. It’s one of the few products which, if you have skin, you pretty much need, And, as if I didn’t love it enough – Elizabeth Arden have come out with a version for Christmas, featuring the cutest Holiday packaging.

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The product was released back in 1930, and was the very first product to bear the Elizabeth Arden name, now, over 70 years later, it’s pretty much iconic. The name comes from a claim that it healed a child’s scraped knee in 8 hours, and I have to say, I’m a complete believer when it comes to the claims.

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Most nights I apply a slick of the cream to anywhere feeling a little dry or dehydrated. Lips, nose and under eyes are always a good bet, as are dehydrated cuticles and rough elbows. It does have a thick, almost sticky texture, but considering I pop it on prior to getting into bed, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. If you suffer from dry lips or chapped skin in the winter you need to treat yourself to a tube!

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As if the cream wasn’t enough, I absolutely adore the limited edition 2016 Holiday packaging. It’s so cute and makes moisturising feel so special!

Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream is £27 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Dinner at The White Horse Duns Tew*

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When we headed down to the Cotswolds last month, I was on a bit of a mission to sample some seriously old-school English pubs and inns. Thankfully, Oxfordshire is packed full of them, and one of the best has to be The White Horse in Duns Tew.

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We headed over on a rather rainy night, dragging ourselves away from the wood burning fire at Bruern Cottages (more about that later) we were met with a picture perfect stone inn, complete with rooms to the rear.

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We parked in the on-site carpark, so entered through the back. After weaving through throngs of locals chatting away at the bar, we were shown to the dining area of the restaurant, and honestly, it couldn’t have been cosier. A couple of seriously chill dogs were scattered throughout the bar and in one half of the dining area, whilst the other side was reserved for two-legged patrons.

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The interior of The White Horse couldn’t have been nicer to spend a rainy evening in. Each table was lit with an adorable little gas light, whilst various lamps were scattered throughout. I adored the kitschy pictures on the wall and the decorated ceiling. It was the absolute definition of cosy.

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The menu changes daily to reflect what’s in season, so, as we pondered over our choices, I opted for a glass of prosecco. At £5 a glass I was seriously impressed at how delicious it was – dry and fruity, it was good enough for a second glass!

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After debating over a few options, we went for a bit of a surf’n’turf selection of starters. First up was a deconstructed prawn marie rose, featuring an entire pint of shrimp! It was a seriously generous portion to begin a meal with, but an absolutely delicious one!

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The prawns were obviously very fresh, tender and full of flavour. Paired with freshly baked sourdough toast and homemade mayonnaise, it was a fun take on a classic pub dish. Obviously the locals agreed, as I don’t think that there was a table who didn’t order them!

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I don’t  think I can see Chicken Liver Pate on a menu and not order it. My trip to the White Horse was no different! A huge slab of it was served alongside homemade sourdough toast and cornichons.

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The pate was incredibly rich and velvety smooth. Sprinkled with a touch of Maldon salt, I could have munched away on it all evening. The cornichon lent a vinegar-y twang which cut through pate wonderfully. For such a simple dish, it was perfectly balanced, and was wonderful with my glass of prosecco.

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When it came to mains, there was only one choice for me – Pork Belly with greens, turnip mask, homemade black pudding and a poached pear. The White Horse source all their meat and vegetables locally, and the pork was testament to their suppliers. Incredibly rich in flavour, with a crisp crackling it was perfectly juicy and tender.

fullsizeoutput_b81The homemade black pudding was absolute perfect, and gave the dish real depth. Contrasted with the sweetness of the turnip and pear, my meal had all the flavours of autumn, and I savoured every mouthful.

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When we saw that a 10oz Ribeye was on the menu, we couldn’t not order it! The freshness of the meat was apparent in both flavour and texture, and it was absolutely melt-in-the mouth. Served with a fresh green salad and freshly cooked fries, it was the perfect pub supper.

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The fries were an absolute revelation. Piping hot, crisp and salty, I stole my fair share of these to go with my pork!

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We couldn’t quite fit in dessert, but did grab a few coffees before venturing back out in the rain. Frothy perfection, I was absolutely obsessed with my very cool royal mug.

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Far too soon we were back out in the Oxfordshire countryside winding our way back to Bruern, full of the very best food that the Cotswolds has to offer.

You can find out more information about the White Horse Duns Tew here.

Penhaligons The Revenge of Lady Blanche*

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Ok, I know we’re not meant to judge a book by its cover (or, you know, a perfume by its box), but when Penhaligons posted their latest fragrance, The Revenge of Lady Blanche, it would be fair to say I went a little weak at the knees.

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The fragrance is part of the new Portraits collection which has comprises four very different eau de perfums. With two designed for men, and two for women, they are possibly the most original release I’ve seen all year! There is an entire story woven around the scents, and it’s an absolute riot. If you’ve got something of an Agatha Cristie addict in the family, these would go down rather well at Christmas!

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If I thought the box was the definition of charming, I think I fell even deeper in love when I got to the bottle. Topped with a brass bear head, my bottle of The Revenge of Lady Blanche is absolutely sublime. The whole range is topped off with a zoo-worth of animal heads (my favourite my be the rather noble stag head on the Tragedy of Lord George) which are worth the collection alone.

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The Revenge of Lady Blanche is described as ‘Charmingly dangerous’ and I’d have to agree. By far, it’s the deepest shade of perfume I’ve ever owned. Chocolatey dark in colour, it looks like it should smell deep and dangerous. And in a way it does! It’s perfect for cold weather and long, dark nights. The top notes of Powdery Orris are beautifully feminine and are a soft entry into the perfume which really deepens on the skin.

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After about an hour or so, the heart notes of Narcissus Flower become more apparent. It’s a new type of floral for me, but I’m absolutely obsessed with it. It’s so deep and dark, it feels like it was made to be worn on winter nights. Then, after a good few hours, the base notes of Hyacinth come into play. Again, it’s a complex way to wear a floral scent, but I absolutely adore it, and I have to say, I can’t wait to try the other perfumes in the line up!

Penhaligon’s The Revenge of Lady Blanche is priced at £178 and is available here

Kiehl’s Staying Alive Ultra Facial Cream*

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Whenever my favourite brands and products partner with charities, it gives me a bit of a warm fuzzy feeling. I’m not sure you can beat doing good, purely by doing something like buying a favourite moisturiser. I’ve mentioned Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream a few times on this site because it’s really rather good.

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I have dry skin at the best of times, but in the winter, when I’m dashing between central heating and cold temperatures, my skin gets even drier than normal. This means it feels far more sensitive, and I pretty much have to baby it until the Spring. Thankfully though, products like Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturiser exist. It’s a lightweight creme, which just disappears into skin, leaving it feeling instantly hydrated. This feeling lasts all day, meaning that no matter how cold it gets, my skin stays soft and protected. Kiehl’s even tested the cream on a bunch of arctic explorers to make sure that their claims checked out!

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As if the cream wasn’t awesome enough, Kiehl’s have partnered with MTV and Laura Mvula to support the Staying Alive charity. Every tub of the Ultra Facial Cream which comes with the special edition lid represents a £10 donation from the brand which will go towards 3 projects around the world which will empower young women. It’s such a great cause, and the fact it’s linked with one of my holy grail products feels even better!

Kiehl’s Staying Alive Ultra Facial Cream is priced at £43.50 and is available here (UK) and (non charity version) here (US)

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