Sunday, 22 February 2015

My Top 5 Ways To Relax

Good morning!

It's Sunday - the day of rest! After working all week I like to try and put a couple of hours aside on a Sunday afternoon to relax and have some 'me time' . I think people's lives are generally very busy these days, but it's important to take some time out from all the madness and so I've made a list of my favourite ways to relax!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Valentine's Day Inspired Home Interiors Samuel Charles Interiors

Happy Valentine's Day! I thought I'd bring you a little something different and show you how you can spread the love throughout your home. The shops are Valentine's mad at the moment with cards, flowers and chocolates everywhere, but you don't have to look far to find gorgeous love-inspired homewares that won't look out of place year round.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Thomas Sabo Silver Heart Charm From Burns Jewellers

It's that time of year again when Valentine's Day is getting closer and all those husbands and boyfriends are struggling to decide on what to buy for the lady in their lives. I don't know about you, but I don't think you can go wrong with jewellery and Burns Jewellers has an amazing collection to suit all budgets.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara Review - Is This The Best Mascara Yet?

The 26th February is a date that all beauty lovers need to mark in their diaries  -  if you didn't know already, it's the date that Benefit Cosmetics release their new Roller Lash mascara!

If you read my last post (link here) you'll know that I attended the exclusive launch event in Manchester at the weekend and since then I have been testing out Roller Lash* mascara to see if it lives up to its claims. If you want to know more then read on!

Benefit already have two best selling mascaras under their belt so you might be thinking why are they releasing another one? Well, if you think of everything you might want from a mascara...

Staying power
Ink black colour
Easy to remove
Lash conditioning ingredients

...this is the first mascara that claims to have it all. It promises to deliver all this with the help of the innovative patent pending 'Hook N Roll' brush and a new long-lasting formula. 

The inspiration behind Roller Lash was the thought that one of the best ways to curl hair is with rollers, so what if there were rollers for lashes? After three different brush designs that didn't quite give the required results, Benefit hit the jackpot with their fourth design - the 'Hook N Roll' wand. The strategically placed hooks made from a soft rubbery material grab and hook round each individual eyelash, lifting and coating them from root to tip. I can actually feel my lashes being 'grabbed' by the little hooks as I apply the product and I can see each lash being coated evenly. The curved wand curls lashes upwards to open the eye. It works in a similar way to curling ribbon with scissors, as the ribbon passes over the blade of the scissors it creates a perfect curl. There really is no need for eyelash curlers if you're applying Roller Lash. It's ideal if you have short or straight lashes. 

The top of the wand features slightly longer hooks which are curved for applying product to the top lashes to create length, volume and curl. The bottom of the wand has short straight hooks that are perfect for coating the bottom lashes. The shape has been designed to suit all eye shapes and sizes.

The quick drying formula sets the curl instantly and it promises to last for 12 hours. After trying it out myself, I can say that my lashes stayed curled all day and there was no flaking at all (nobody likes smudged black mascara under the eyes halfway through the day!) The clever design of the wand also ensures that the precise amount of product is applied to each eyelash, reducing clumps and eliminating those dreaded 'spider-leg' lashes. Even though Roller Lash is long lasting, it isn't waterproof - which is a bonus for me as I find waterproof mascaras really hard to remove. I've found that this removes easily with my cotton pads and micellar water and there's been no need for me to rub vigorously at my eyelashes when I'm removing the product.

In a consumer panel survey carried out by Benefit on thirty-one women over a period of four weeks they found that 97% said that Roller Lash visibly lifts lashes, 87% said it gives long lasting curl and 94% said eyes look more wide open. 

I definitely think that this mascara makes my eyes look more wide open. I can see each individual lash being lifted as I apply it and the curl sets almost instantly.

Here you can see one eye with no mascara and the other with one coat of Roller Lash - I think the results are quite dramatic, do you?

This picture shows the curl created by the 'Hook N Roll' wand.

Roller Lash contains Provitamin B5 and Serin which are ingredients known for their lash conditioning benefits. I can't say that the condition of my lashes has improved whilst using this mascara, but I have only been using it for four days so I will be able to see whether the condition is affected over a longer period of time.

I think I may be a little bit in love with Roller Lash - it delivers everything I want from a mascara and it's all wrapped up in the cutest hair roller inspired packaging! My favourite L'Oreal mascara has been put on the sidelines since I first tried this mascara and I can see myself reaching for Roller Lash on a daily basis from now on.

If you want to get your hands on Roller Lash before it goes on general sale to the public then you may want to buy the March issue of Elle magazine which hits the shelves tomorrow (29th January) as there will be a free travel sized sample included! You can buy the full sized mascara at Benefit counters and online from Thursday 26th February and it will retail at £19.50.

Are you excited for the launch of Roller Lash? Will you be buying it?

(This post contains a sample provided for review - all views are my own honest opinion)

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara Launch Event - Manchester

A couple of weeks ago an exciting email from the lovely people at Benefit Cosmetics popped into my inbox inviting me to an exclusive launch event for the new Roller Lash mascara. I was told to attend at Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester at 1pm on Saturday 24th January and all would be revealed...

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Valentine's Day Gift Guide...Ideas For Men

1. Liz Earle Men's Try Me Gift Set £19.75
I'm a huge fan of Liz Earle skincare, especially the Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, and I think it's important for men to look after their skin just as much as women. I think this cute little 'try me' kit with travel sized products is a great way to introduce the man in your life to Liz Earle skincare before purchasing full sized products. It contains a cleanser, a moisturiser, a face & body wash and shave cream.

2. Pringle Men's Boxer and Sock Gift Set* £20 from House of Fraser
I think all men love getting new underwear (no it's not just us ladies!) and I love this boxer and sock set from Pringle which you can buy from House of Fraser. The colour co-ordinated set comes in a nice sturdy presentation box and I think this would make a great gift for your boyfriend or husband.

3. 'How To Be A Good Husband' Book £4.95 from
Traditionally Valentine's Day is all about romance but if your fella has a good sense of humour then this little book which I spotted online might just be the perfect present. It contains advice written in the 1930s on how to be a good husband.....that should make an interesting read!

4. Personalised Romantic Jigsaw Keyring Set £14.95 from
I like finding different and unusual gifts for special occasions and when I saw this personalised keyring set I knew I had to include it in this gift guide. You could simply have it personalised with your names or something more romantic and personal to you!

5. Hotel Chocolat 'The Valentines Goody Bag' £18
Who doesn't love chocolate on Valentine's Day (or any other day for that matter?!) This little goody bag is a perfect gift - containing truffles, caramel hearts, milk chocolate slabs and some cheeky 'nudge-nudge' chocolates - I think any man would appreciate this treat.

6. Romantic Hotel Stay With Dinner For Two £149 from Red Letter Days
If you've got a few more pennies to splash out on for Valentine's Day then why not treat your man to romantic night away somewhere? A romantic hotel stay with dinner for two is a winner for any man on Valentine's Day.

7. Handmade Leather 'Calum' Bracelet £19.99 from Gemz By Emz
These gorgeous hand woven leather bracelets made by the lovely Emma at Gemz By Emz are a great gift idea if your man likes jewellery and accessories. Even Celebrity Big Brother contestant Calum Best has this exact one made by Emma! I love the fact that it is all hand really adds a personal touch.

8. Dolce & Gabbana The One Aftershave 50ml £38.99 from Fragrance Direct
This has to be my absolute favourite men's aftershave - it smells amazing! If I could get away with wearing it myself then I would! I always buy this fragrance for my husband - the woody base notes make this a gorgeously sophisticated and masculine scent. Fragrance Direct always have amazing discounts on their website and this is the cheapest I could find anywhere.

9. Hugo Boss Round Enamel Cufflinks £59 from House of Fraser
These smart looking cufflinks from Hugo Boss at House of Fraser are a great gift for any man who wears a suit. The sleek and classic design would add a little something special to your husband/boyfriend's attire and make sure he's looking extra sharp at the office or for a special occasion.

I hope I've given you some inspiration for Valentine's Day this year. Let me know if you plan on purchasing any of these items for the man in your life!

(This post is a collaborative feature)

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Riverford Organics Fruit & Veg Box Scheme

I've been wanting to sign up to an organic veg box scheme for ages so, after lots of research into different companies, I finally took the plunge before Christmas and signed up with Riverford Organics.

The Riverford box scheme began in Devon when founder Guy Watson started delivering vegetables to a small number of friends and family who lived locally. They now deliver a whopping 47,000 boxes per week to homes around the UK from there four regional farms. 

There is a large selection of boxes to choose from on the Riverford website and I decided on the small original fruit and veg box which costs £12.95 with free delivery. You can completely change or add/remove anything in your order up to 48 hours before delivery. I was allocated Wednesday as my delivery day and was informed that my fruit and veg box would be coming from Home Farm in Yorkshire. As I work full time, it's good to know that you don't have to be in when the box is delivered - it can be left anywhere that you like or you can give an alternative delivery address.

Here's how my fruit and veg box looked when it was delivered - 

It was all packed up nicely in recyclable packaging with a welcome brochure full of information regarding each vegetable - like how to store it, prepare it and cook it, as well as several recipe ideas.

Everything looked really fresh when I unpacked it and I was impressed with the quality and quantity of all the fruit and veg. It is certainly enough for two people as indicated on the website.

My fruit and veg box contained:

A bag of new potatoes
Pointed cabbage
A bag of sugarsnap peas
A bunch of carrots

The fruit tasted much fresher and sweeter than any supermarket-bought fruit I've had before and it had so much more flavour. The tomatoes tasted so amazingly sweet that I could have literally eaten them all there and then.

I'm really impressed with my first box from Riverford Organics and I think the scheme is great value for money. The website is really easy to use too and if you don't like the menu for one particular week you can pause the delivery or make up your own box.

Have you signed up to a weekly fruit and veg box scheme? What do you think of the contents of this box?

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Healthy Breakfast - Banana Oat Pancakes Recipe

I have a massive sweet tooth and if you read my New Year post you'll know that I am trying to up my exercise and eat a more healthy diet - something that can be difficult when you love sweet things as much as I do! So I've been experimenting in the kitchen and I threw together this really easy mixture which made some great (and sweet) tasting pancakes using all natural ingredients and no added sugar.

You will need:-

1 banana
1 free range egg
1/4 mug of wholegrain oats
Coconut oil
A small drop of pure honey
Handful of blueberries (for the topping)

First of all I chopped up the banana and placed it in a blender along with the oats and whizzed it all up for 10 to 20 seconds. (I don't have a proper food processor so I just used my Breville Blend Active which is great for making smoothies to go!) I then added the egg and a drop of honey and blended it all for a further 10 to 20 seconds until the mixture had a nice consistency. 

I then melted about half a teaspoon of organic coconut oil in a griddle pan and added 3 heaped large spoonfuls of the mixture to the pan separately. 

I let the pancakes cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on a low to medium heat then flipped them over for the other side to cook for the same amount of time.

Once nicely browned on both sides I piled them on a plate and added a handful of blueberries on top.

It's as easy as that! How nice do they look?! The banana gives them a lovely sweet taste without having to add any refined sugary products. All natural and all healthy!

I think this is going to be one of my new favourite weekend breakfasts as they're so quick and easy to make and it feels like a real treat. I'm going to be experimenting with different toppings to switch it up a bit and see which I like best.

Do you have any great healthy breakfast ideas? Let me know if you have a go at making these yourself by leaving a comment below!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick Review - Shade #56 Teheran

I never used to wear lipstick at all - I'd avoid it at all costs thinking that the slightest bit of colour would draw attention to myself. A few years ago though I started buying MAC lipsticks and began experimenting with brighter bolder colours, understanding how the right shade can finish off your look perfectly. 

I started off buying MAC and 'drugstore' brands from Boots and then a few months ago I splashed out on my first Chanel lipstick - Chanel Rouge Coco in shade 56 Teheran. 

Monday, 12 January 2015

My 1 Year Blog Birthday and 100th Post!

Image Source:
Happy Birthday to meeeeeeee! Well, not me, but my blog! Yes, today 'What Shell Says' is one year old and this is also my 100th post...hurrah!!

I started this blog on 12th January 2014 and it has had a big impact on my life that I could never have expected. It has allowed me to be creative again, in writing and photography and to be more experimental with make up and fashion. Going to blogger events and networking with brands and PR companies has increased my confidence and it has led me into a community where I feel at home. 

I was petrified of attending my first blogger event - I would never have dreamed of going somewhere where I didn't know a single soul but I told myself to 'man-up' and go for it. What could go wrong? If I felt like a total idiot stood on my own then I could just leave and go home, but at least I would have given it a go. I need not have worried though as I met the loveliest girls that night who made me feel so welcome. 

I didn't think that starting this little blog would lead to making new friends with similar interests, but that has been one of the highlights of my first year of blogging. A special mention has to be made to my lovely friends  Anoushka, Katie, Jess, Georgie and Katie who I met at my very first event. These ladies are fabulous and I love attending blogger events with them. I have also got to know the lovely Italian fashionista Anna this past year who I can talk about my love of Venice with!

 I also talk to lots of other bloggers through Twitter and two that were there right from the start were Laura and Julie. They've both been a big support to me in trying to get my blog up and running (especially Julie when I've been baffled by html coding!)

Last but not least though, I'm grateful to each and every person who reads my posts. Never in a million years did I think that my little blog would attract any attention but thanks to you it has. I've been given opportunities to work with some amazing companies which I never thought possible for me and it's all because you continue to read my posts and follow me on my journey. So for that I thank you dearly!

I hope I can continue to improve my posts and photography and create some great content for 2015. Here's to another fab 12 months of blogging!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Jo Malone Cologne - Wood Sage and Sea Salt

I'm probably the last person in the world to own this perfume - I've seen it featured on so many blogs as the latest 'must-have' scent, but to be honest I'm quite picky with the perfumes I wear so I didn't rush out to buy it. However, fast forward a couple of months and whilst on a shopping trip to the Trafford Centre with my husband I saw this on display in the Selfridges beauty hall and thought I would try it. I instantly fell in love with the scent. I don't usually buy myself perfumes though so I left empty handed.

Little did I know that my lovely hubby had been paying attention and a bottle of this was waiting for me under the tree on Christmas morning!

It's a beautiful fresh perfume which instantly awakens the senses. Inspired by fresh breezes, crashing waves along the shore and the earthy wood scent of sage, the ingredients blend together perfectly to create a beautiful and sophisticated feminine scent. I like perfumes with a woody base so this suits me perfectly. It's not a sweet or floral scent, just lovely and fresh and unlike any perfume I've ever smelt before. 

This is one of my new favourites and I think it will become a permanent feature on my dressing table.

A 30ml bottle retails at £40 and the larger 100ml bottle retails at £82.

Have you tried Wood Sage & Sea Salt?

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Lush Butter Bear Bath Ballistic Review

One of my favourite things about Christmas is getting a new bath/shower set. After opening presents on Christmas morning I love taking a long bath or shower and using all the new toiletries that I've received as presents. This year I received quite a few and one of my favourites was the Lush Candy Box gift box. (Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the box before I unwrapped it all though - oops, sorry!)

The first item from the set that I used was the Butter Bear Bath Ballistic - a cute looking bear shaped bath bomb and special updated version of their original Butterball Ballistic especially for the Christmas season.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year! Hello 2015

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a lovely New Year's Eve whatever you chose to do. I stayed in and had family round for drinks and a big Chinese takeaway which was delicious!

Firstly I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has read my blog in 2014 - when I started it in January I honestly didn't think anyone would look at it so I really am truly grateful. I hope I can continue to improve my blog in 2015.

I've been a bit quiet on here over the past two weeks due to the the craziness of Christmas but I decided to not put any pressure on myself to get blog posts written and published and just enjoy the time off work to spend quality time with my friends and family. I've had a fab time and I think that little break has done me the world of good.

Looking back at 2014 it has been one of the best years yet. January I set up this blog and published my first post February me and my husband celebrated 10 wonderful years together since our first date May we went on a family holiday to one of our favourite places - Murcia in Spain June me and my husband celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary September I celebrated my 30th birthday on holiday in Portugal with friends and family and stayed in the    most amazing villa October my husband surprised me with a birthday trip to Venice which has created memories I will        treasure forever November my best friend turned 30 and threw a big party, and December we had one of the nicest and most fun family Christmases! 

2014 has been great and I'm looking forward to seeing what 2015 brings. I've made myself a little resolution to eat healthier and exercise more and I will be signing up to an online programme, so keep an eye out here for reviews and updates.

I wish you all health, wealth and happiness for 2015.......let's make it a good one!

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