Wednesday, 23 March 2016

I LOVE COFFEE


A few weeks back I was set the challenge to taste test coffees from the high street and compare them with Greggs offering! As a coffee lover, this was the perfect task for me and allowed me to slip back into my old barista shoes from my days as a Saturday Girl at Starbucks!

I was asked to rate the coffees out of 5 and take into consideration the following criteria;

  • Taste
  • Value for Money
  • Freshness
  • Smell
  • Aesthetic (Cup and Sleeve if applicable)
My first coffee was from Costa and to ensure consistency, I opted for a Latte from each of the locations so that it was a fair test. I always enjoy Costa Coffees, for me they slightly pip Starbucks to the post in terms of Aesthetic with their cups having the sleeve incorporated into the design. It is always consistently a smooth finish, freshly ground beans and steamed milk.

My rating for Costa is 4 out of 5. No improvements and for me quite perfect. The only place they dropped a point was on the expense side of things.

Starbucks was second and again very high standard of coffee. I know from my Starbucks days that consistency is key for the Baristas and training is taken very seriously. I love the personalisation from Starbucks and having my name on something.. simple pleasures eh?! 

The rating I have awarded Starbucks is also 4 out of 5 for exactly the same reason as Costa. It is undoubtedly a high quality beverage but I always think the price point is high given I know exactly what cost price is!

Pret was my next visit. It was a nice enough coffee but what surprised me is that there aren't different size options? I prefer my coffee by the bucket load and I found this one left me wanting more.

For this reason I have given Pret a 3 as I think it loses out on Value for Money and Aesthetic.

Finally I left my Greggs Brew til last. I think sometimes it's easy to see a machine based coffee maker and assume that it will produce a lesser quality drink and while to a certain extent, I guess it's true, it's also important to remember that this is a way of cutting costs whilst delivering freshly made custom drinks. When I think of the rating criteria I do have to say that genuinely I was very impressed. The latte was very fresh, freshly steamed milk and I could hear the beans being freshly ground for the espresso shot. Smell was also great, along with taste and value for money. With a large costing just £2 I thought the drink was very good for the price. There are 2 size options and generally the cup is ok. Nothing special but I'm not sure I would necessarily expect that.

I would award Greggs with 4 out of 5. My only observation would fall under aesthetic as if you requested an extra hot beverage then the lack of sleeve would probably make for quite an uncomfortable experience!


So there we have my little coffee tasting experience! I would definitely urge you to give Greggs Coffee a try as I am positive you won't be disappointed!!
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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Homeware Wishlist


Hands up who else had a little tidy of their room on the first day of Spring at the weekend??

Well, I did. I wanted to get everything dusted, tidied and in order as I was away travelling last week with work and wanted my nice zen oasis to relax in after a couple of nights in a Premier Inn! Which I must add is one of my favourite homes away from home!

I really like how my room is at the moment. I have a very white and neutral room and you may have seen my old post here which shows some of my bits and bobs! I have updated it slightly, adding in fresh flowers, a lightbox and some photos but all in all it has remained quite similar!

On my quest for cute and quirky things to add into my room I stumbled across the above which I absolutely love! Succulents and Cacti seem to be a new love for me so this light up cactus is just brilliant for adding a pop of colour into a neutral room. I'm also massively loving the Urban Outfitter Cactus Bedding!!

I am a huge Beyonce fan so anything with a nod to Queen B gets a thumbs up and the two watermelon cups/glasses are no exception. Definitely fancy a few cocktails in my very own watermelon this summer!

I've been looking for a suitable print to hang above my bed and have seen this New York Skyline for a bargainous £11 from JD Williams! I have to have this so as soon as payday kicks in that is swiftly going in my basket :)

What have you been lusting over for the home?

The items above are from Urban Outfitters, JD Williams and H&M Home but I can also massively recommend Home Sense for all your homey finishing touches!
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Monday, 21 March 2016

Beauty Fortnight at Harvey Nichols Manchester


Hey Sweeties! Just wanted to let you know about Beauty Fortnight at Harvey Nichols Manchester!

Get a glowing start to spring with two weeks dedicated to the hottest beauty trends, techniques and treatments at Harvey Nichols Manchester. Step instore for an exclusive Beauty Fortnight from Monday 14 – Monday 28 March 2016 to advance your beauty knowledge from the best of brands. Spoil yourself with complimentary mini masterclasses, limited edition treatments, deluxe sampling and exclusive gift with purchases, plus expert advice from our Pro Artists and Brand Ambassadors.

Your schedule of activity awaits:

EVE LOM
Monday 14 March – Monday 28 March
Enjoy a complimentary Mini Brightening Facial with Eve Lom*
The 15 minute on counter treatment focuses on intense hydration and radiance, promoting an even skin tone for all ages
*Speak to a member of the team for details

YSL
Monday 14 – Monday 28 March
MOT your makeup bag with YSL
Enjoy on counter masterclasses focusing on your face, cheeks, lips and eyes to overhaul your daily routine plus luxury samples* to take home
*Whilst stocks last, speak to a member of the team for details

UMBERTO GIANNINI
Monday 14 March – Monday 28 March
Discover the best of braiding services available daily at the Dry Bar
With every colour service appointment booked within the Beauty Fortnight, receive a luxury complimentary hair mask*
Spend over £90 on any Cloud 9 electrical or retail products and receive a complimentary blow dry*
*Terms and conditions apply, speak to a member of the team for details

JO MALONE LONDON
Monday 14 – Monday 28 March
Enjoy Fragrance Combining sessions to find your signature scent
Plus hand and arm massages inspired by the latest launch, The Herb Garden Collection
Speak to a member of the team for details

CREED
Monday 14 – Monday 28 March
Enjoy Fragrance Profiling with your complimentary Creed consultation and discover the latest launches to the collection
Speak to a member of the team for details

SISLEY
Monday 14 – Monday 28 March
Enjoy your complimentary 15 minute on counter facial treatment with the skincare experts at Sisley
Speak to a member of the team for details

BENEFIT
Monday 14 – Monday 28 March
Purchase two or more Benefit products and receive a selection of complimentary samples*
*Whilst stocks last, speak to a member of the team for details

BAREMINERALS
Monday 14 – Monday 28 March
Discover bareMinerals latest product launch, Lovescape plus complimentary deluxe sampling throughout the fortnight*
*Whilst stocks last, speak to a member of the team for details

ESTEE LAUDER
Monday 14 – Monday 28 March
Discover Estee Lauder’s latest Double Wear Foundation shades
Enjoy a complimentary skincare or makeup pamper session with a selection of personalised deluxe samples to take home*
*Whilst stocks last, speak to a member of the team for details

DERMALOGICA
Monday 14 – Monday 28 March
Enjoy a complimentary Face Mapping Skin Analysis with Dermalogica
Receive a complimentary gift with purchase when you spend £85 or more* on Dermalogica products
*Whilst stocks last, speak to a member of the team for details

DEBORAH LIPMANN
Monday 14 – Monday 28 March
Receive a complimentary gift with purchase when you spend £30 or more* on Deborah Lippmann products
*Whilst stocks last, speak to a member of the team for details

SHISEIDO
Monday 14 – Monday 28 March
Enjoy a complimentary in-depth Skin Analysis including an overnight trial sample of Shiseido’s Ibuki Sleeping Mask to take home*
*Whilst stocks last, speak to a member of the team for details

EVE LOM
Monday 14 March – Saturday 19 March
Beauty Room Treatment
Relax in our Beauty Room with a 1 hour Brightening Facial or Ultimate Cleanse Facial complimentary against the purchase of two products*
*Brightening Facial treatment available with a minimum spend of £120, Ultimate Cleanse Facial treatment with a minimum spend of £85
Speak to a member of the team for details

STILA
Monday 14 – Wednesday 16 March
Learn how to create the latest looks from the Stila experts with a Mirror My Makeup Masterclass*
£15 booking fee redeemable against Stila products
*Stila’s Pro Artist, Dani Gregory will host the Masterclass on Tuesday 15 and Wednesday 16 March
Speak to a member of the team for details

RADICAL
Wednesday 16 March
Purchase any Radical product from Beyond Beauty and receive a complimentary mini facial treatment*
*Terms and conditions apply, speak to a member of the team for details

SHU UEMURA
Wednesday 16 March
Enjoy an exclusive one-to-one mini masterclass with Shu Uemura’s new Ultimate Balm
Plus complimentary hand massages and a goodie bag to take home*
*Terms and conditions, speak to a member of the team for details

ESPA
Wednesday 16 – Friday 18 March
Tuesday 22 March
Thursday 24 March
6pm-8pm
Join the ESPA experts for a 20 minute Sleep Workshop focusing on their latest launch, Overnight Hydration
Enjoy a full cleanse consultation, top tips on relaxation and de-stressing the skin
£10 booking fee includes an ESPA goody bag to take home
Speak to a member of the team for details

ESPA
Wednesday 16 – Friday 18 March
Tuesday 22 March
Thursday 24 March
6pm-8pm
Purchase three or more ESPA products and receive a complimentary gift with purchase*
*Terms and conditions apply, speak to a member of the team for details

BOBBI BROWN
Friday 18 March 12:30pm-4:30pm
Join Bobbi Brown’s UK Advanced Team Artist, Lucy Zanella for your one-to-one makeup masterclass
Speak to a member of the team for details

YOGANDHA OILS
Saturday 19 March 1pm-5pm
Learn how to use Yogandha Oils aromatherapy products for your mood management with a mini masterclass hosted by Brand Ambassador, Alexis Fletcher
Speak to a member of the team for details

COVER FX
Saturday 19 March and Saturday 26 March 12 midday-6pm
Drop into Cover FX’s skin consultation clinic, to discover their top tips on contouring and strobing
Plus with perfect match foundation for the ultimate complexion finish
Speak to a member of the team for details

TRISH MCEVOY
Monday 21 March – Saturday 2 April
Beauty Room Treatment
Experience Trish McEvoy’s new range of skincare products with an exclusive facial treatment
£25 booking fee redeemable against Trish McEvoy products
Speak to a member of the team for details

STILA
Tuesday 22 March
Join Stila’s Pro Artist, Dani Gregory for your one-to-one makeup masterclass
£15 booking fee redeemable against Stila products
Speak to a member of the team for details

SHU UEMURA
Tuesday 22 March
Join Shu Uemura’s Senior Makeup Artist for an exclusive on-counter masterclass to celebrate the new Prep and Prime Skin Perfector
Plus a complimentary Shu Uemura facial and a goodie bag to take home*
*Terms and conditions, speak to a member of the team for details

CLINIQUE
Wednesday 23 March 3pm-8pm
Gather the girls for the ultimate beauty experience with Clinique
Enjoy complimentary makeovers with a glass of Harvey Nichols Prosecco and an exclusive gift with purchase*
Plus your chance to receive a complimentary blow dry from SHOWBeauty
*Terms and conditions apply, gift with purchase available with two or more products purchased, one to be skincare.
One gift per customer. Speak to a member of the team for details

SHISEIDO
Thursday 24 March – Until stocks last
Enjoy an exclusive gift with purchase worth £98 when you purchase two or more Shiseido skincare products*
*Terms and conditions apply, speak to a member of the team for details

LAURA MERCIER
Thursday 24 March
Capture your skin in the best light with an exclusive Flawless Makeup Masterclass from Laura Mercier’s Regional Makeup Artist, Claire Cough
Plus enjoy complimentary samples of their latest launch, Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation*
*Whilst stocks last, speak to a member of the team for details

BENEFIT
Saturday 26 March
Celebrate the latest launches from Benefit’s Hoola collection with an on-counter Hoola Party
Discover the new Contour Brush, Face Tan and Instant Body Tan during your complimentary consultations
Speak to a member of the team for details
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Sunday, 20 March 2016

Be Still My Beating Heart

SOPHIA WEBSTER SS16
Just a quickie post today.. to proclaim my absolute love and adoration for the SS16 Sophia Webster Bag Collection.

ALL THE HEART EMOJIS.

I also really would urge you all to follow the Sophia Webster Snapchat as it is brilliant!

That is all for today... I have been a busy bee and am having some well earned rest. Back soon sweeties!!
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Sunday, 13 March 2016

#MyBagSS16

MY BAG
On Thursday evening I was delighted to see some of the Manchester Blogger Bae's at the My Bag SS16 Preview Event at Artisan. A very last minute decision to attend after doing my spinning class across the road, the event was held in one of Artisan's new private dining areas and showed us some of the gorgeous new Spring Summer arrivals!

My absolute faves were the Lulu Guinness Bags in the stunning blush nude colours with the classic lip details. We mingled and had canapes and cocktails and there was also a hair styling station from The Red Angel Hair Company. We also heard that they will shortly be opening a styling bar in the Manchester Arndale so watch this space!

All Bloggers were gifted a goodie bag and it was jam packed full of treats from both My Bag and Look Fantastic! I can't wait to give everything a proper use, I have only cracked into the Wet Brush so far and it is INCREDIBLE.

Thank you so much to My Bag for having me and stay tuned on SnapChat for mini reviews of the goodie bag contents! My user name is of course, SweetieSal :)
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Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Modelled by Role Models


I was recently asked the question by Panache Lingerie as to who I would consider to be my 'role model' or who inspires me.

Almost immediately I knew who would get my vote, and that person is Kirsty Howard.

For me, Kirsty is one of the most incredible young woman who achieved such incredible things in her short life. Kirsty was born with her heart back to front and was given a very short life expectancy. She defied all the odds and went on to raise much needed funds for Francis House Children's Hospice which is based in Manchester and provides respite care for the whole family of children and young people with life limiting illnesses.

You will have read about Francis House Children's Hospice on SweetieSal before as they are my absolute favourite charity and are so deserving of any support that comes their way. Kirsty sadly passed away in October 2015 but her legacy continues in the form of the Kirsty Club which carries on her wishes to raise funds for the Hospice.

The Charity has inspired me and I am proud to do whatever I can to help. I will be once again participating in this year's Manchester 10K to raise funds for Francis House Children's Hospice and am honoured that this year I will be a part of their 'gold team'. If you wish to support the cause then please feel free to donate whatever you can through my JustGiving Page here.

This International Women's Day, Panache are launching their search for the nation's favourite female role models, someone who is inspiring and has achieved great things. Panache will whittle the nominations down into a final 6 who will then form part of their 'Modelled by Role Models' Campaign!

Here's what Panache have to say about the campaign;

If the world is changed by examples rather than opinions, then we want to show off who’s setting the bar. Strong, fearless women - women who carve their own path and drive the course of history. Role model women.

Panache women are role models. They’re influencers. They don’t compete. They empower. It’s these role models, these female one-offs, who show the world that the glass ceiling is permeable. And it’s time we gave these women their stage.

In 2015 Panache launched their first digital campaign, ‘Modelled by Role Models’ in celebration of inspirational women around the world. The campaign featured world renowned model Marquita Pring, Sports Therapist Amy Hughes, British T34 Paralympic wheelchair champion Hannah Cockcroft, Senior Nurse Rachel Elliott, British singer Mica Paris and blood and organ donation campaigner Martyna Kaczmarek.

For the next incarnation of ‘Modelled by Role Models’, Panache have invited their customers to nominate who they consider to be their role model. This could be an ordinary woman in their life who does extraordinary things, a local heroine, or a celebrity whose work inspires them.

The campaign will launch on International Women’s Day, today, March 8th 2016, and you can nominate online www.modelledbyrolemodels.com/nominations. Closing date for nominations is April 3rd.

The winner of Modelled by Role Models 2016 will receive:

  • A year’s supply of Panache lingerie (total 12 sets)
  • A starring role in the Modelled by Role Models photo shoot in London, including two tickets to a West End show, and travel and accommodation for two people
  • A set of prints of the best images taken at the photo shoot

So, what happens next?

Panache will carefully consider all nominations and release a shortlist of 15 finalists, the public will join a Panache judging panel to find the final 6 role models. Winners will be in the ‘Modelled By Role Models’ photo shoot which will feature on the Panache website, online and offline press and all social media channels and on POS in stockists.

Such an exciting opportunity and fantastic platform to publicise all the fantastic work undertaken, day in, day out!

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Monday, 7 March 2016

Holiday Essentials


Last week I was very fortunate to accompany my pal Steph on a Press Trip to Dubai!

It was a very quick turnaround which required a new passport, summer clothes and booking in for all my essential pre-holiday appointments!

I thought I would talk about what my holiday essentials are today!

My three must-do appointments prior to going on holiday are (in no particular order)

  1. Bikini Wax - even for a city break I like to be groomed! I always head to the Brazilian Waxing Company for this as they are SO GOOD.
  2. LVL Lashes - Much as I love the look of lash extensions, I just can't deal with the reality so when I discovered LVL I was blown away. Nothing at all is added to your lashes in this treatment. Working with what you have naturally, the lashes are semi permanently lifted/curled round a miniature roller and then tinted, leaving you with a really natural, nice wide eyed look. An absolute MUST for holidays.
  3. Nails and Eyebrows - everyone loves a mani/pedi for hols and I am exactly the same. I always have a brow shape and tint aswell!

Moving onto what comes in the suitcase with me...
  • Sunscreen - I absolutely adore the Bioderma Photoderm Bronze Dry Oil as it is probably the only thing that doesn't make me break out. Last time I went to Dubai I used factor 50 and didn't burn at all (I literally ALWAYS burn) so I opted for factor 30 this time... unfortunately in that strength of sun I think I probably needed the 50 as I did catch the sun a little bit but I still swear by this product for anyone fair skinned!
  • Sunnies - I never realised how important good lenses are on sunglasses until I won some Ray-Bans... I wanted another pair to add to my collection so I treated myself to some Quay Australia Sunnies from ASOS as I had heard really good things about them and the fact that their lenses are super high quality but a reasonable price!
  • A slightly darker foundation is a must for me when I go on holiday, not because I get overly tanned but if I do catch the sun a bit then there is nothing more annoying that having a totally pale face compared to your neck/chest! I tend not to spend loads on one and my current fave is Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum in a slightly darker shade than usual.
  • Salt Spray - my fave salt spray is the one and only bumble and bumble one for the perfect amount of hold and a lovely beachy texture for hair. When it's warm my hair tends to just get a mind of it's own so rather than spend hours trying to tame it I will just spritz, scrunch and hope for the best!
  • As well as salt spray I also always make sure I take some super moisturising hair treatments with me as because I have got bleached ends of my hair it can get very dry in the sun.
  • Summer Fragrance - I have two absolute fave fragrances, Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess and Laura Mercier Ambre Vanille. They make me so happy to wear them!
Now for the hand luggage...
  • Avene Eau Thermal Spray - this is a new discovery for me. I have read many bloggers rave about it so decided to pick up a bottle when doing my big beauty shop prior to going away! You can get a small size that is authorised for coming on board with you and after removing all of my makeup I periodically spritzed this on to ensure my face was well hydrated and it very much did the trick!
  • Charlotte Tilbury Multi-Miracle Glow - this stuff is unreal. I usually break out on the plane as my skin goes nuts with over compensating on oil for how dry it becomes. I slathered on this as a mask and was left with the most amazing skin when we had landed! This will hands down be my new on-board skin routine as it really made the world of difference! It was also fab on the way back as I had a bit of a burned decolletage so just popped some of this on to avoid the dreaded peel!
  • Hand cream - I'm not overly precious about brand but I have to put some on and make use of the downtime!
  • Travel Pillow - I was very kindly treated to a gorgeous Ted Baker Travel Pillow and Eye Mask Set from Flamingo Gifts which was very much appreciated on my way to Dubai when I was super tired!
  • Invisibobble: I normally try and do my hair before going on holiday or have a blow dry to in order to drag it out as long as possible I use these no bump bobbles to avoid the awful ridge you get with normal bobbles!

What are your holiday must-haves??
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Friday, 4 March 2016

Healthy Body Healthy Mind

Holland and Barrett
As you guys may have read here, I embarked on a healthy eating programme in collaboration with Holland and Barrett before I went on holiday!

The aim of the diet wasn't so much to lose weight but to add in and substitute more healthy alternatives to my diet with an aim of feeling more energised and ingesting important vitamins and minerals.

There were a few things on the meal plan that I really enjoyed and will certainly be continuing to eat, others not as much.

Overnight oats were a pleasant find, as were the healthy blueberry muffins. Weirdly, I really wasn't overly keen on the very distinct flavour of manuka honey, it's not horrible by any means but just didn't float my boat! All in all I have to say it has definitely given me a renewed interest in eating more natural foods and being more adventurous with my baking!

Big thumbs up from me!

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