Sunday, 15 October 2017

Taco Bell in the UK


We've all heard of Taco Bell, right? The name cropped up throughout my childhood, usually from friends who get taken on exotic holidays or American kids tv shows -or y'know, Mean Girls -


"Do you wanna do something fun? Wanna go to Taco Bell?"

"I cant go to Taco Bell, I'm on an all-carb diet, GOD Karen you are so stupid!"

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For those who aren't familiar, it's the world’s leading Mexican-style quick service restaurant chain with approximately 6,500 restaurants worldwide and something that until recently the UK was missing. 

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The first Taco Bell restaurant was built in Downey, California in 1962  founded by former US Marine Glen Bell, who we can thank for  the wonderfully convenient way to shove shredded chicken or mince in to our mouths with ease as he invented the preformed taco shell in 1951. Cheers Glen!

I was pleased to hear that Taco Bell is becoming a larger thing this side of the pond and I was invited down to the opening of the new Woking store to  taste the food for myself.

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Now I admit I am a little bit of a fast food snob, I haven't had McDonalds for as long as I can remember and I usually favour sitting down in a 'proper' restaurant so although 'on paper' Taco Bell didn't seem like a good match for me it was the menu that made me think differently - I love me a bit of Mexican food! 


Taco Bell offers a wide range of Mexican food which is not only really damn tasty but affordable too. You can get a whole meal for about a fiver which is great for those lunch breaks before payday! 

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The menu consists of a range of Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas and Nachos along with chips and delicious desserts. All products are available with a wide variety of familiar and tasty ingredients including delicious meats (seasoned beef, spicy Mexican chicken, grilled chicken and slow cooked pork) and blends of real cheeses, crisp shredded lettuce, diced ripe tomatoes and their signature sauces. Of course you can't have a proper Mexican feast without some Guacamole, Salsa, hearty beans and Mexican rice. There's vegetarian options and smaller bites for the kids too - Mason was a BIG fan! 


You can have a quick snack or go for a Big Bell box where you can pretty much try out a bit of everything, -a fajita burrito, crunchy taco, Mexican fries, churros and a drink. It's not just for spice lovers -I'm a bit of a hot food wuss so it's great that you can decide how hot you'd like it.

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My favourite has to be their Crunch Wrap Supreme which is a soft  tortilla layered with Mexican chicken, nacho cheese, a crunchy tostada shell, lettuce, reduced fat sour cream and tomatoes - it's as amazing as it sounds!

It didn't have a fast food feel about it, the food is served fresh to order so you won't be eating anything that has been sat out for ages - nobody wants a soggy taco ... (e-hem!) and the restaurant itself is clean and tidy with plenty of seating.  Although it's not fine dining they definitely don't scrimp on the quality, the food is fresh, tasty and really filling. I was pleasantly surprised by the value! 

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As a child of the 90s with a mild Slush Puppy addiction I love a blended icy drink so I was really excited to try their  Freezes. At just £1.99 each you can have a strawberry or a lemon flavour and if you're feeling adventurous you can even add white rum or tequila for an extra £1! Summertime picnics in the park are going to be fun I an tell! 


Personally  it's given me another option when I don't fancy a Subway or Boots meal deal for lunch, and is  the perfect place to go after the cinema, during a shopping trip or lunch the morning after a big night out - free fizzy drink refills are always a big plus for me when I have a hangover! With such a big menu for a reasonable price I think Taco Bell is just what we've been missing. 


There are a few more stores opening all over the UK and I can see tacos taking over! ...McDonalds who?!




 *I was invited to try the menu in exchange for an honest review and all thoughts are my own




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Thursday, 12 October 2017

Sleek - My Face, My Rules

"You wear too much make-up!"
"Why do you feel the need to paint your face for a man?"
"She'd be prettier without that crap on her face!" 

How many times have you heard something along those lines? 


How many times have you applied make up on the train to be greeted with looks of disgust, a tut or side eye  (admittedly this has only happened once or twice but I still don't get it). It's just not on. 

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You may have seen this campaign around recently, There's a video being shared across social media and even hitting the Tv screens too which highlights the fact that all kinds of people wear make up for all different reasons and we should be free to experiment and play with make-up as much as we like without judgement. This is all down to Sleek spreading their very important message. 


Sleek's 'My Face My Rules' campaign is something I really  relate to and I'm very passionate about. I came away from their recent event feeling so empowered and it's just incredible that a brand like this is making a change; Not only through this campaign but releasing a makeup range that is suited to a wide range of skintones. Their newest 'Life Proof' foundation is not only excellent but it is available in 24 shades. Sleek is such a diverse brand and it was wonderful to be in a room full of like minded people each with their own individual style. 


Why should we be judged by liking makeup? It's a huge business and something that millions of people make a living from. Whether it's just a bit of red lipstick to make yourself feel better or a full face of make up just to take the bins out - why should it matter to anyone? 

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In the same way I like to wear new matching underwear to make myself feel good, I wear make-up too and that isn't for anyone else's benefit. I started wearing make up when  I was 14 or 15 and that wasn't for any reason other than that I wanted to play around with it. I wasn't doing anyone any harm. Some days I look back and wish I hadn't experimented so much (2005's all over bronzer and kohl liner phase I'm looking at you!) but it's all part of growing up. 


Its a way to express yourself, enhance your already gorgeous features or even hide away a blemish or two.
Some days I wear makeup to mask how I'm feeling, and that is OK! On the inside I might be really ill and have no energy but if I can use something to help me not look that way- and especially if it's with something I enjoy then I'll do it! 

I'm a strong believer in the phrase 'You Do You' -Why should I care how much makeup someone else is wearing? It's their face! Sleek are helping to ditch the pressure, the negativity and the labels that come with the love of make up. Make up shaming is a real thing. Girls or guys wearing make-up is yet another thing for people to get angry about that doesn't effect them. 
Apparently 1/10 people believe the more make up a  woman wears, the more sexual partners they have -how ridiculous is that? That's like saying people that wear stripes on Wednesday are more likely to be virgins! 


Sleek are representing modern culture, with selfies, ootd shots, snapchat etc we are all embracing our beauty and it's important to feel proud of ourselves, how we look, how we feel and how we treat others!  

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We had a talk hosted by Gemma Cairney who has a book-called 'Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be' which is A guide to help young people navigate love, friendships, health and other aspects of growing up. 

It's so easy to be bogged down by the negativity. I've had my fair share of it in the past, people are very quick to judge without asking any questions first and it's just no way to live life. We need to feed back more of the positives, talk about what we like, not what we hate. Ask questions if we don't understand something and stop jumping to conclusions and getting angry! 

I could rant all day but I'm glad Sleek are speaking out about this! At the event I was kindly given a few products to take home so I want to share them with you. 

First is the 'A New Day' i-Divine Eyeshadow Palette- It's just perfect  palette for day time looks with an array of soft nudes, subtle golds and warm peach shades. There's 6 matte shades and 6 shimmers.  I am a big fan of Sleeks shimmer eyeshadows, they blend so well and the pigments are amazing. 

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The Matte Me lip gloss is a liquid lipstick that really says put! I have shade 'Shabby Chic' which is a dusky pink, it dries a little darker than I thought but it's a lovely colour. I need to try out a few more shades of these, I think I need a deep red for Autumn!


The much loved Solstice Highlighting Palette is as beautiful as I'd imagined. In it's gorgeous gold case with a big mirror and little brush to use on the go it's perfect to keep in your bag to transform your make up for a night out. The pinky gold creme highlight is really creamy and blends into make up really well. I mainly use it on the brow bone as I prefer to highlight my cheekbones with a powder, the two on the right are the ones I use most. The top is slightly lighter with more of a pearly tone and the bottom has a touch more pink to it, both are really pigmented and give me a gorgeous glow. The pale yellow on the bottom left is a  subtle light gold powder for a lighter look.

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The new Life Proof Foundation is lovely. We were colour matched at the event and I was given two shades to blend to get the perfect look for me. This is great for this time of year when my summer tan starts to fade. It gives a medium coverage that can be built up and it covers my fine lines and gives my skin a bit more of an airbrushed look. Along with my trip to Crete and the British weather having it's weird humid moments this foundation has come at the best time as it's sweat proof, oil free and helps to reduce shine. Exactly what I need! The packaging is nice and compact too and I like that the squeeze tube makes it easy to apply the right amount. I've been using mine with Sleek's Hydrating Primer which really helps keep everything in place but doesn't feel like it's clogging my skin. 


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Sleek are leaving the 'perfect adverts' behind and showing you what you can do with make up. We don't all need to look like a L'Oreal advert - there's more options out there, experiment with blue eyeliner if you want, rock a berry lip, or stick to the natural look. Make up has no rules!

Use it  to make u feel great, you're the one that matters. It's your face, it's your rules.


*I was gifted these products but all thoughts are my own





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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Planning a night out in London


I love having things to look forward to, that is why planning get-togethers is one of my favourite things about this time of year. 90% of my family birthdays are between September and December and of course with Christmas on it's way I'm starting to pack up my diary with social events. 


I love to see my girls and have a proper catch up over cocktails and as we all met in London it's the best place for us to go! When it's been warm I love to find somewhere with a view of the gorgeous city, it's the perfect photo opportunity.  Places like Madison, Radio Rooftop and the newly re-opened Vista Bar have stunning views of the city and lovely little cocktails too!



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When planning any sort of special event there are a few things to consider-

Size of the Venue

You don't want it to be too cramped but you don't want a small group in a large room which is why shared events are such a great idea. Mixing your smaller group with others and guarantees a great atmosphere and I love meeting new people so this is definitely my favourite option. 

Location

You want somewhere that's easily accessible for everyone in your group, that is why London is my number one choice for nights out.  There are just so many ideas for Christmas parties in London. Right from The Southbank to Shoreditch there are great options and with the night tube it's the perfect location to make sure everyone can get home easily. 

Theme

If you're after something a little more interesting than some drinks and a bite to eat you can opt for something in a unique venue or something with a theme. London Aquarium, The Natural history Museum and Madame Tussauds all have themed after dark events which look absolutely amazing. Choosing something different will make your event one to remember for sure! I've personally always wanted to do a Murder mystery evening, I think it will be so much fun and a great way to socialise too!

there's also river cruises along the Thames which is a great way to see a little bit of London on your way. The river is very pretty at night with all of the lights around so it feels very festive - just make sure you wrap up!



The Setting 
Do you want something quiet with some nice background music or are you after a loud party where you can dance the night away? Events with live bands have always been a winner in my eyes as you can guarantee they get the crowd going. 


Food and Drink

Are you after buffet food to mingle or sit down meal for a more intimate setting? Will you only be having a couple of drinks each or would an unlimited drinks package be easier so you don't have to worry about spending the money you'd saved for a taxi? Having these things organised in advance makes the night go smoother, there's nothing worse than 15 people all trying to spilt a bill evenly at the end of a night.

People

Most importantly invite the people that matter most to you, a night out is made by the people who are there.

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I don't know about you but this has really got me in the festive spirit and I'm now very inspired to plan some nights out!

I'd love to hear about your best nights out!




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