Love Your Skin with Lovegrove Essentials

If I had to choose one of my all time favourite skincare products that I love treating myself to, it’d be a face mask. I love nothing more than smothering the product all over my face, and kicking back doing absolutely nothing whilst I wait for my face to go stiff to the point it’s difficult to convey any facial expression to anyone who is lucky enough to see me in all my face mask glory in the house. Lush face masks are my usual go to, with the benefits I look for in such a product having to revolve around reducing redness, in addition to making my skin feel smooth as can be. After being approached by Lovegrove Essentials with the opportunity to try out their skincare essentials, inside I was jumping for joy at the thought of trying out new products for my skin. After a few back and forth messages detailing my skin type, problem areas and the type of products I tend to use, Lovegrove Essentials were eager for me to try out their brand new Clean and Natural Kit, so I agreed without hesitation at the thought of discovering products to add to my collection.
Coming in a lovely little lavender bag, the Clean and Natural Kit contains Lovegrove Essentials bestselling cleansing balm, alongside their newly launched aromatic face mask, two cloths (one for removing the mask with, and the other for removing the cleansing balm) and a brush for gently applying the mask with. Starting with the cleansing balm, you simply put a dollop in between your hands and rub them together until it turns into an oily liquid. Once it liquifies you massage it into your face and instantly feel its benefits. Not only does a spot of this take off your make-up, saving you from using wipes, but it also helps balance the oils on your skin, which for me is a major plus as I suffer from extremely oily skin.
The cleansing balm followed by the aromatic face mask will leave your skin feeling clean and natural, just like the title of this kit. As soon as you open the little pot, you are met with the most amazing, and soothing smell from the mask, and that’s one of the things both my mum and I pointed out. The smell of the aromatic face mask reminds me of all the lovely oils you’re greeted with when in a spa treatment room, and you instantly feel relaxed (for half the price of a spa too). Another special feature of the kit that I absolutely loved was the brush that you paint the mask on with, meaning you don’t end up with half the product on your fingers and you aren’t rubbing your fingers into your skin. A great tip, which the lovely Hayley behind Lovegrove Essentials suggested if you’re ever visiting a spa is to put the mask on before heading into the sauna as the heat from the sauna will open your pores and can allow impurities to escape from the skin. I done this recently and definitely felt the benefits of the mask to a much larger degree. This is a face mask I could see myself using on a more regular basis as I’ve never felt my skin as soft as it is after I take the aromatic face mask off. With both my mum and I using the set, the mask has sadly came to an end..but I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase this kit as I can really see a difference in the texture of my skin.

Costing £24.95 this is a great little kit and with it not taking up much room, could be the perfect travel companion for taking care of your skin while you’re travelling or if you’re constantly on the go and find it difficult to spare a moment to treat yourself. Next on my list to try out is their moisture cream and the healing touch serum as I’ve heard the serum is really good for scarring. What are your go to skincare products?


A Night at The ElphinStone Hotel

After having the opportunity to stay at the Tinto House Hotel in Biggar just last year, when the opportunity arose to stay at another hotel in Biggar, which goes by the name The Elphinestone, I couldn’t wait for another night away from the city. If you’ve read any of my posts where I’ve ventured out of the city, you’ll realise just how much I love escaping from busy city life to explore new places, especially quiet little villages like this, it’s a home away from home for me. With a history of over 400 years, The Elphinestone Hotel is situated on Biggar High Street, right in the heart of the town. Charming in more ways than one, its traditional Scottish look from the outside, is only enhanced as soon as your feet sink into the tartan carpets when you step foot in the door, really giving it that Scottish feel. We arrived at the hotel before 5pm on a Saturday night and even then the place was bustling with business, you could tell from the get go that The Elphinstone has a loyal clientele.

After been handed the keys to our room, we took the stairs along the very long corridor to our room at the very back of the hotel. Featuring a double bed, bunk beds, a flat screen TV, and plenty of space, although one may say it was dated, except for the very modern bathroom, I took to it quickly and I think it only added to the homely atmosphere that the Hotel gives off from the outside looking in. With the freezing temperatures Scotland has been experiencing in recent weeks, I was more than glad to feel the heat as soon as we popped our bags down and got settled in our room for the night. After watching a spot of TV we headed down to dinner, and on our way down had noticed a shelf in the hallway with games like Trivial Pursuit, Frustration and Scrabble, which I thought was a really good idea for any families staying at the hotel or for those guests who enjoy a bit of competitiveness and want to get their game on. David was so excited at the thought of playing Frustration but was only brought back down to reality and left slightly ‘frustrated’ due to the counters being missing from the box (he’s been trying to find this board game for years).
To say the staff here are friendly is an understatement, they go above and beyond to provide a friendly and high standard service. We were seated at our table and within very little time we got on with ordering our food. For our starters I went for the haggis balls and pepper sauce, whilst David went for the tomato and basil soup. My starter didn’t disappoint, the haggis balls went amazingly with the pepper sauce, and although I could have done with a couple more (only because they were absolutely incredible and I have the appetite of a family of four), my expectations only increased for the main courses. David thoroughly enjoyed his soup, which was accompanied with a lovely little roll on the side, and on a Saturday night like that one a bowl of soup was just what the doctor ordered.

If haggis for my starter wasn’t enough, I then went on to have a main course which included another good old favourite food of mine…black pudding. I ordered the black chicken (a chicken breast with black pudding perched deliciously on top), covered in a creamy pepper sauce and accompanied with good old fries. I couldn’t get enough of this pepper sauce, and the main was just incredible, from the overly generous portion size to the tastiness of the dish itself, I couldn’t leave an ounce of this on my plate. David went for the chicken fajita burger, which was a new one for him and he was pleasantly surprised at just how good this was, it was definitely more exciting than your average chicken burger.

Now you’d think with how well we were treated for dinner that we wouldn’t have room for more, but when someone offers you a dessert menu, you simply don’t say no, it’s wrong on so many levels. As soon as I spotted the white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake, I knew this was going to be all mine, David on the other hand went for the Rob Roy, which was some sort of ice-cream sundae with a dash of whisky in it (I was too focused on the cheesecake I didn’t take much notice of his dessert clearly, but apparently it was amazing). The desserts were the peak to a great evening, and I’d take the hour long drive back there for that whole 3 course again. I’d rate the food 10/10 if not higher, every course was genuinely incredible and that was a mutual agreement between David and I.

After a brisk walk to try and walk off the thousands of calories worth of amazing food we had just eaten, we headed back to the room ready for bed due to being so full and content. By this point the bar was absolutely buzzing, which if you’re not into listening to all the good old classics at maximum volume then the room we had might not be ideal for you, as the noise reaches high levels as the night goes on. Despite hearing every word of a drunk girls inspirational speech to her best friend because her boyfriend or love interest walked off and left her, and hearing a very drunk next door neighbours every swear word at crazy o’clock, you just couldn’t help but laugh and it only added to the memories (I’m sure he didn’t appreciate hearing our chatting at 8 in the morning before breakfast). I wouldn’t say this was a bad thing as you can’t expect any less on a Saturday night, it just depends on whether you’re looking for a quiet stay or not (our stay was pleasant regardless).

On the Sunday we were up bright and early for breakfast and had the whole dining area to ourselves (all the party people from the night before must have been tucked up in bed). I particularly loved the Nelson Mandela speech being the first page of the breakfast menu, followed by a lovely little message from the owners, which added a personal touch to the stay. For the breakfast itself I had the full works, fresh apple juice, tea, toast and a full fry up breakfast with an appearance from my two favourites from the night before…haggis and black pudding. Again after the exceptional dinner we had, the breakfast was to the same high standard and made us only want to stay a bit longer so we could have experienced lunch at the hotel. I had a great stay at The Elphinestone Hotel and I can now say I’ve ticked off another hotel in the Biggar area. I can only hope I’m in the area again sometime soon for another delicious meal within the restaurant.




A Letter to my Best Friend

We all have best friends, whether they’re your other half, the group of friends you’ve grown up with through school, those you’ve met at university, or even ones you’ve met through work. We can meet our best friends at any point in our life, and they can come from all walks of life, but at the end of the day we all have that ONE best friend who no one could ever compare to, and mines is my gran, so this is a letter to her.

Dear Gran,

It’s been an awful and long 11 months without you, life’s not full of the same old laughter and jokes, the programmes we used to watch together have lost their greatness (Jeremy Kyle is boring without our commentary). Passing your house everyday only causes frustration and annoyance that someone else is living their life in the place you called home, making new memories and replacing the marks you left with their own personal touch. It’s your birthday today, you’d have been 87, what an age…I can only hope to live to an age like that and live a life full of love like you did. I can remember the little family party we had for your 86th birthday last year, and although you weren’t feeling up for it as times were hard and your health was really taking a toll on you, you put a face on and smiled your way through the night, just like you always did…you done everything with a smile. I wish I could have your patience and understanding, you suffered more than people do in a lifetime but you put up with it, you fought your way through it the best you could, despite how mentally and physically tiring and draining it was. You’re a prime example of someone with true strength and although the last few months of your life were awful in terms of your health sharply deteriorating, on the other hand they were the best few months spent living with mum and I. I didn’t always deal with the stress of the whole situation well, and a lot of my time was spent buried in my dissertation and sat in the library rather than by your side, which I wish I could change, but all the hard work was for you. My degree was for you, you told me whatever was to happen to you I was to make you proud and I hope I did, I’m sure I did. You’d have loved graduation day, especially the dinner afterwards and the classy black dress I wore (I’m sure you’d have made a few comments about the lengths or how revealing some of the dresses were that were worn that day). I also ended up with two jobs after finishing university, and I know you’d have loved me coming in after work to tell you how my day was working at a Higher Education Institution 5 days a week or about the overly demanding customers I came face to face with when working my weekend job in retail. I hope you know how proud I am of mum for facing the day with a smile even when she doesn’t feel like it because she just longs for you to be back with us. I’m taking her to Dubai in less than 4 weeks for her 50th, the family will be together to celebrate a milestone of a birthday and to comfort one another with it being one year since you sadly left us. So much has happened over these past 11 months and I just wish we could sit down with a cup of tea, digestive biscuits, and just catch up about life. I find it difficult to talk about you to mum as it only ends in tears, but I don’t ever stop talking about you to people in work as I never want anyone to not know how amazing you were. Doing this letter post is a way for me to open up (to the Internet I know, but by the end of this post SO many more people will realise your greatness and just how much you are missed). There’s so many memories I could write down but I want to keep them to myself as they’re special, and something that you and I only share. I miss you more than anything and I hope you’re watching over me proud of the woman I’m turning into, and that I continue to make you proud and make the right life choices. I hope you’re eating as much sweet treats as you like (we all know you loved your cakes), and I hope you’re watching unlimited Only Fools and Horses, Columbo, Come Dine With Me and Four in a Bed, I just wish I was watching them with you. Regardless of who I meet in life, you’ll always be my number one.

Love Holly x 


Valentines Day with Scribbler

Scribbler are a UK based cards and gifts company, well known for their , remarkably funny (or punny), rude and risky humour, taking a different spin on the traditional types of greeting cards we all well and truly know. One thing I can say on behalf of Scribbler is that, if you’re to buy someone a card from this company, they’d be sure not to forget it. Founded back in 1981, Scribbler has now found itself spreading, with 34 stores across the UK, and with growing potential for even more. Although predominantly known for its greetings cards, they also sell merchandise, stationary and gift wrapping, with quirky products to help you out for any occasion you’re looking to buy for. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching (officially 1 week today so you love birds better get organised) the opportunity to find out what Scribbler was all about arose with them wanting to send me a few pieces from their Valentines range.

I’d say there’s definitely a big rule when it comes to Scribbler, which is that one must have a sense of humour, as the quirky nature of this company means that you can pick up a card that has some naughty connotations or one that proudly displays the greatest pun, with Scribbler you never know what you’re going to get and I’m a fan of the variety. When my products arrived, they were sure not to disappoint, with me now being the proud owner of 4 fantastically unique and unusual Valentines cards (will David be getting 4 cards from me or just the 1?). I was sent a bunch of different Valentine’s cards from their range, with the pun ones being my absolute favourite and giving me a little chuckle. If I were to describe the type of person I am when it comes to love, I’d definitely say I was the hopeless romantic type so I’m all for a lovey dovey card with a novel full of romantic rhyming words displayed on every part of the card, from the front page to the inside, but thanks to Scribbler, getting to see the funny side of love allowed me to see the fun loving type of cards that can go down just as well with your other half. My personal favourites were the “I love you from my head to moji-toes” partly because of the cocktail lover that I am, and I also loved the ‘We’re mint to be” card, I’m into cheesy puns. There are some cards that are pretty forward, and to give an example I was sent one with a camel on it, captioned ‘Wanna hump?‘, I definitely wouldn’t ever send a card like this, but I’m sure there’s plenty of individuals out there that’d appreciate that kind of humour. With nothing written on the inside, there is plenty of room for you to write your little speech on how much you love your other half and how amazing they are without having to buy a card that says all that for you. The cards start from £2.49 for a small one and sizes can increase to standard and then large.

In store Scribbler offer a range of gifts, whether cushions, mugs or some edible goodies. I was sent the “Wanna French?” mug with a which is pictured above (I’m sure you’ve caught on to the idea with this mug and its caption?), all I can say is that these products are very well thought up. The colour of the mug makes it a winner and it’s been looking pretty good sat on my desk holding a cup of tea whilst I work away on my laptop. Scribbler were kind enough to send a packet of love heart sweats too, which look too neatly wrapped to eat at the moment so are also perched on my desk as an ornamental sort of feature, as soon as the dieting is over I’ll be all over them though, don’t worry. Until now I’ve never really thought of Scribbler as my first choice place for buying cards, but with cards of every nature, type, and size I’ll definitely be giving them a visit for any upcoming birthdays or special occasions. What type of person are you when it comes to Valentines?



Diet Chef: Week 3

Another week has started, and so another week of my Diet Chef plan has finished, and with less than a week to go before I finish off this 4 week plan and start another one, I’m feeling motivated as ever to shift the rest of this weight. I’ve only had a small loss of just over 1 pound yet again, the loss was actually a couple of pounds more on Friday, but with the weekend involving eating out on Friday, an overnight stay on Saturday and some fried food, it was inevitable that the weight wouldn’t completely stay off (the joys of having your weigh in day as a Monday eh). I’m going to do another quick run-down of my third week on the plan, allowing you to find out my favourites and my not so favourites, especially since I’ve had the chance to try out some new dishes (Diet Chef really do have so much choice so you won’t feel it being repetitive).

Through this plan I’ve realised I’m definitely not a fan of muesli, whether it’s the chocolate chip muesli bar or the luxury muesli with greek yoghurt, it’s just not for me. Granola on the other hand is definitely my thing and I can’t wait to get my hands on some more pink apple and cinnamon granola as I used up the few packets I ordered one day after the next due to completely falling in love with it. Just the other day I tried out the chocolate flavoured protein bar for breakfast and it was really tasty, I especially loved the crispy protein pieces throughout the bar which added some crunch to it, making me feel like I was digging into a bar of chocolate. This protein bar is super filling, I ended up having 1/3 for my breakfast, 1/3 after my lunch, and then 1/3 in the afternoon, as I couldn’t eat this all in one early in the morning. For lunch I’m yet to try the spicy beef and tomato soup, which is something to look forward to this week, but I’m loving my the curried parsnip with my usual slice of wholemeal bread. For my next 4 week plan I’m definitely going to order the cous cous to try, and more of the pasta pots as I’m missing them as my little break in between the constant soup. My one regret is ordering only a few bags of crisps as I only just tried the Paprika flavoured soya and potato snacks and they’re even better than the salt and pepper flavour (which I didn’t believe could be possible). This is what excites me about still having another 4 weeks after this plan finishes as I now know what I love, like and dislike and can use my preferences when placing my new order this week. For dinner I’ve developed a huge liking for the minced beef hot pot, which in a way makes me feel like I’m having a Sunday dinner as it tastes like a good wholesome homemade meal. I’m also pleasantly surprised by the lasagne, I’m a big pasta lover so I’m glad I can still have the foods I love the most on this plan without worrying about overindulging. With the meaty lasagne being delicious, this only makes me excited to try out the tuna lasagne, which will be a twist on the good old traditional lasagne, but I’m sure it will be a good one.

As well as trying my best on the Diet Chef plan, I’ve also really been pushing myself at the gym, I attended fat burn last week which was fantastically demanding, and I also went to Abs Blast last night which made me want to cry both mentally and physically as it was SO DIFFICULT and had me in pain from the get go (my body is currently struggling all over). I’ve also been increasing my own workouts at the gym by increasing the amount of time I spend at the gym, increasing the amount of weights I do, and making sure my workouts have a lot more variation and stay exciting. I’ve also started the 30 day abs and bum challenge, with one of my goals being to really start toning up and get rid of my jiggly bits (believe me I have plenty of jiggle). Although I can definitely see the difference in my body just my looking in the mirror I’m hoping I can get another pound or two off on my 4th week of the plan and notice a difference on the scales.