Friday, 10 July 2015

Lost Your Blogging Mojo?

Don't panic; we've all been there.

In fact, anyone who's a regular reader of this here blog might have noticed posts have been few and far between of late. The weeks just whizz by, don't they? And before you know it a couple of months have passed and still no post.

True, we all have reasons why our blogs suffer neglect; mine's a result of setting up a new sideline: The Occasional Reporter.  But I'm slowly getting the old blogging mojo back - and do you know what, it feels great.

The good news is there's a host of ways you can breathe life into your blog - but here's a really easy one: buy a planner or diary* and make sure you use it.

The one I've been using lately has been helping me twofold; it's been encouraging me to jot down some ideas for upcoming blogs, as well as schedule all the little 'admin' jobs that tend to fall by the wayside.

If you haven't yet checked out TOAD Diaries pop on over to the site; you'll love it. It's a West Yorkshire-based company that's helping make all our lives a whole lot easier via really lovely personalised diaries.

The really great thing about the diaries, though, is you can order one to start from any month of the year. There's no need to wait until January to buy your diary anymore; you can even purchase an 18-month or 5-year diary, if you're that organised.

The clue's in the name, really. TOAD stands for Today or Any Day - perfect if you're someone like me; someone who loves 'To Do' lists and paper-based planners.

I chose to have my diary start in June; I launched my small business around that time and thought it'd give me the kick I needed to get going and start scheduling some social media posts and what not. It's been an absolute gem on that front, folks. If you're worried about letting your usual weekly blogging regime slip, this could well be the answer for you.

I mean, just look how lovely the diary is. There's even a fun 'Make a TOAD' page, where you can create your own paper toad - it doesn't get much better than that. Oh and there's a handy plastic wallet in the back of my diary too, helping me to keep important bits and bobs (like business cards and what not) safe.

I found the ordering process really easy, too. There's even a handy video on the TOAD site which explains how it all works when you come to purchase your personalised diary. 

Take a look at the site and order yours today; mine arrived within just days of me hitting 'purchase' - and I'm so thrilled with it. I was able to personalise the front cover with The Occasional Reporter and there's so many cute designs to choose from you'll be browsing the site for ages.

How do you maintain your blogging mojo? Have you got some cool tips I don't know about? Ping 'em my way.

Until next time...

*This product was sent for review consideration

Thursday, 14 May 2015

An Afternoon at Huddersfield's Alexandra House

It wasn't too long ago I was thinking it was high time I had a facial. Not just for its skin-soothing benefits; my ridiculously-hormonal face (yep, I'm in my 30s and still suffer blemishes - sob!) but for the sheer relaxation only a half-hour treatment in a spa can bring.

Well, let it be said that the lovely team at Faith PR, alongside the therapists at Alexandra House - a spa I've been visiting for regular facials for some years now - can clearly now also read minds. As lo and behold an invite to sample the Huddersfield-based holistic spa popped into my inbox. And oh how welcome it was!

Since going freelance full-time at the back end of last year, I've not only been coming to terms with managing my own time and 'being my own boss' ("Another cup of tea, Lauren? Yeah, go on then Lauren!") but working from home has been sending me stir crazy.

An afternoon of zoning out was just the pick-me-up I needed - and would you just look at the beautiful surroundings of Alecandra House's newly renovated spa....

In bloom: the beautifully idyllic surroundings of Huddersfield's Alexandra House
There's a reason Alexandra House's slogan is 'A spa with a heart'; the staff can't do enough for you when you visit and there's a lovely holistic approach to each and every treatment. But it doesn't end there. Everything is geared up to ensure you leave the spa not only looking great (as far as glowing skin goes) but feeling as light as a feather, too.

My visit to Alexandra House followed a busy morning at a networking event with my friend and fellow spa lover, Ellie (pictured below). The afternoon was just what we needed after a few hours on our feet and we were pleased to be greeted by friendly spa owner, Maxine and her equally lovely team of therapists.

In no time at all, we were given comfy slippers and robes and shown into the retail therapy room before our treatments - a chance to relax while taking a look at the many holistic-themed products on offer.
Top left: My spa-ing partner, Ellie. Top right, Eve Taylor products, on display in the Retail Therapy room. Bottom left: One of the treatment rooms. Bottom right; Enjoying a foot soak and a smoothie

Choosing a deliciously healthy pear and banana smoothie from the extensive drinks menu, we were first treated to biscuits and a gorgeous hot foot soak, complete with a mountain of bubbles - absolute bliss.

After a morning pounding the halls of a huge exhibition venue, we were more than ready to take the weight off our poor feet. 
Left: the Retail Therapy room. Top right: Alexandra House's therapists working their magic. Bottom right: the relaxation room

It was then time for a relaxing foot massage from the lovely ladies you see above, before we were led into our individual treatment rooms. Ellie opted for a soothing Indian head massage, while I went for my favourite - a 30-minute Eve Taylor facial. 
The beautifully-decorated treatment room
The therapists at Alexandra House have been using Eve Taylor for almost as long as I've been attending the spa (some four years or more) and they're some of the best products I've been lucky enough to try during my time writing this here blog. When my skin's been at its worst, I know Eve's products - thanks to their soothingly gentle formulas - will give my complexion the boost it needs. I've used the brand's cleanser regularly in the past, and the products' aromatherapy scents are relaxing without being overpowering. 

It's interesting, also, that Eve - a big advocate for holistic therapies - won't allow her team to blend the aromatherapy oils during a full moon, or when they're in a bad mood. Apparently, it affects the energy of the product and therefore the effectiveness of its ingredients. Mmmm. I'm not sure I'm 100% with Eve on that one, but that said I've always come away from the spa feeling as if I'm walking on air - and good or bad energy aside, that'll do in my book.

The treatment itself was just what the doctor ordered (actually, can that be a thing now? Facials on the NHS!); a mix of gentle music, aromatic scents and one of the best facial massages I've had in a long time. Hats off to the lovely lady who managed to put me in something of a spa-induced coma for 30 minutes.
Recommended Eve Taylor homecare products
But the fun wasn't over just yet. Making our way into the relaxation room, we enjoyed a little more time with our feet up before we had to head out into the real world and endure Huddersfield traffic at rush hour. Just what I needed to pull me out of that coma. NOT.

If you're looking for a West Yorkshire-based spa that delivers great treatments in beautiful surroundings, head here. You won't be disappointed.

A huge thank you to Alexandra House and its team for a lovely, much-needed afternoon - I'm sure I'll not leave it quite so long until my next visit!

Disclaimer: I was offered an afternoon's pampering at Alexandra House for review consideration. I have not been paid to write this post, neither am I affiliated with the brand in any way. All opinions are my own and 100% honest, as always.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Want to Do Your Bit for Charity? CoppaFeel Teams up with I Love...

If you need to stock up on shower gel, you can do a lot worse than head to Boots and grab a bottle or two of Perfectly Peachy by pampering brand I Love...

Teaming up with breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel! to become the first ever cosmetics company to add breast cancer awareness signs and symptoms labels to its limited edition Peachy Passionfruit Bath & Shower Creme. 

It's part of the charity's new #SHOWERHIJACK campaign, with the shower gels available from today (Monday, March 23).

I Love...Perfectly Peachy Shower Creme: In association with CoppaFeel

Will you be heading down to Boots to pick up your bottle of Perfectly Peachy? Remember, it's for a great cause...

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Looking for a New Spring Scent? Try Oriflame's Volare

If you've never heard of the brand Oriflame, chances are your Mum has. It's a Swedish-based company that was popular some years ago, thanks to its Avon-like ordering system and budget-friendly products.

My Mum waxed lyrical about the brand, so when I found myself doing a spot of copywriting for Oriflame, I was keen to hear more.

Just a few months later and I was attending a fun London-based bloggers' event on behalf of the brand and Faith PR.

While I'm certainly going to show a little bias towards the brand, what I will say is this: the company offers some of the best mid-priced products I've tried - and I ain't just saying that.

One product stood out to me at that London event and I have to be completely transparent and say that - like a lot of bloggers - it was the packaging that piqued my interest. I mean, just look at the bottle...

A stunning rose-shaped design, Volare really stood out amongst some of the other fragrances we'd carefully laid out on the Oriflame stand. And I hoped I'd love the scent contained inside, for the very reason that I'd already assigned it a place on my dressing table. I knew it'd look just lovely - and isn't that one of the main reasons we pick up a product in the first place? Ah, call me shallow...

So, by now you're probably wondering what the scent itself is like.

Who remembers those purple parma violet sweets? This fragrance is basically those, bottled. With a hint of peony and rose. To me, it's stunning - and if you've ever owned Guerlain's Insolence, this is pretty much that - without its hefty price tag.

A stunning spring scent, it's gorgeously floral. But what I will say is it won't be for everyone. While I love it (it's fast become my go-to daily fragrance), others haven't. My Mum remarked that it was much too strong for daytime wear, while others have described it as sickeningly sweet.

Decide for yourself and let me know what you think...

Monday, 16 March 2015

Label M's Brunette Texturising Volume Spray: A Review

As far as my beauty routine goes, it's my hair that seems to suffer the most. While I have, in recent months, laid off the straighteners and curling tongs, I do little else to keep my 'do in tip top condition. As a result, it can look flat and, to be honest, a little bit lifeless.

So I bet no one was more pleased than I was to discover this little gem existed. Meet Label M's Brunette Texturising Volume Spray - an absolute Godsend for anyone looking to inject a bit of that old va-va-voom into their locks.

An official London Fashion Week product, this spray - while a bit on the bulky side - can be chucked into your handbag for an on-the-go hair refresh. And that I've been doing, as this really does work wonders when you want to add a little bit of lift to an otherwise drab-looking 'do.

On first use, I think I probably overdid it - go too crazy and add a bit too much to your hair and it'll immediately feel heavy. Instead, a couple of sprays is all you need; then, simply mess up your hair with your hands (following styling, of course) and you're good to go.

I'd certainly recommend it if your hair's in need of a bit of added volume. Give it a go - and don't forget to check out the Label M website for similar styling products.

Are you a fan of Label M?

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review consideration. I have not been paid to write this post, neither am I affiliated with the brand in any way. All opinions are my own and 100% honest, as always.
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