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Japanese Tableware From Sous Chef


I've enjoyed cooking for a number of years now and have developed my taste for different foods which means I've been able to experience foods and flavours from different countries in my own kitchen. My tastes and preferences have changed with time but I seem to have settled on Asian food being my favourite. If I had to choose a few dishes I'd have to go for chicken ramen, katsu curry, vegetable sushi, chow mein and sweet & sour chicken. I've tried a number of Asian meals in restaurants but have been wanting to try these dishes at home.


Sous Chef contacted me to see if I'd want to try out some of their Japanese Tableware. They are an online store that has collections of equipment, gifts, ingredients and tableware for those who love to cook. The stoneware items come in a mixture of designs and colours which gives you the choice where you can mix and match your dishes with the styles you like. The first product I received was the White & Grey Swoosh Noodle Bowl (£12.50). It's a deep bowl that will be ideal for stews, noodles and soups as you will be able to get plenty of the broth or sauce for the full flavour experience. I've never really eaten soups in the past as English soups have never really appealed to me, but some Asian style ones or French onion soup are ones that'd I want to try so this bowl would be ideal.


The other tableware item I received was the Sakura Blossom Ramen Bowl (£19.50). This would be perfect for serving generous portions of ramen and miso broth so would be ideal if you fancy a warming meal in the colder months. I normally go for chicken ramen but I'll be picking up some cookbooks to look at more recipes. An added bonus with this bowl is that it's microwave and dishwasher safe which makes things that bit easier. If you are into cooking and fancy trying out something new or topping up your cupboards with some good quality products, or want to start or add to your collection of tableware then it will be worth checking out what Sous Chef offers.


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Beauty Shopping At Coliseum Shopping Park*

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I was recently invited to go and explore Coliseum Shopping Park to go and shop for some beauty items and do some more retail therapy. The park is based around 35 minutes away from me, in South Liverpool, and it's easy to find just off the M53. There is plenty of parking available within the retail park so it won't be far to pop your purchases into the boot before moving onto the next store. Coliseum Shopping Park is open from 9am until 8pm during the week, 8am to 8pm on Saturdays and 11am to 5pm on Sundays so there should be a convenient time for you to visit. It features quite a few major stores, and I headed over to Boots to pick up some beauty bits.


The first item I picked up was the Spectrum Mean Girls 7 Piece Lip Brush Set and Bag (£40.00) which is something I've been looking at for ages. I've always loved Spectrum but have never owned a set of their brushes before, so when they brought out this Mean Girls Burn Book themed set, it just seemed the perfect one to choose. Along with the 7 brushes, the set includes a silicone blending sponge, a hot pink bag and the burn book compact mirror. I love the look of these brushes, so it didn't take me long to put them in my makeup brush storage that you can see in the background of the picture.


The second product I went for was the Spa in a Jar from Sanctuary Spa (£10.00). Having something to help you have a relaxing wind-down and give yourself a spa treatment in your own home will be welcomed. The gift jar contains a body wash, body lotion, foaming bath soak, hand cream and a body puff. I love how this is all packaged up in one jar which could fit nicely in the bathroom so that you have all of your products in one place, and then it gives you a reusable jar for your other items. The last item I got from Boots was the Jack Wills Cosmetic Brush Gift Set (£15.00). There are 4 brushes included along with a brush pouch. I often struggle with taking my makeup brushes away with me, so having a bag for them would be useful. Due to its handy size, it could be the perfect set to pop in your suitcase when you are going away on a short trip.


I had a great day shopping at Coliseum Shopping Park and it was lovely to see it all festive, with the Christmas tree looking particular nice once the sun had gone down and the lights were shining brightly. There are a number of big name stores in the park which makes it easier to find yourself some items, whether this is for yourself or ones you are picking up for friends and family.


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Urban Decay Naked Cherry Palette Review


Urban Decay has shocked us all again with the release of the Naked Cherry palette and I have to say straight off the bat - this is my favourite palette yet! I was blown away by the Naked Heat palette last year but with me using more pink eyeshadow shades this year, this is by far my favourite now. Urban Decay sent me this palette to review and it came on my birthday so it felt like an extra treat. I think Urban Decay is one of my most reviewed brands on this blog and although they do send me a lot of their products, I'm confident that time after time they produce some high-quality palettes and that definitely makes me look forward to seeing what they bring out with each release.


The eyeshadows come in different formulas, including metallics, mattes, shimmers and even a shadow with an iridescent micro-sparkle. As always, the palette includes a mirror and a double-sided brush for precise application on one end and 'seamless blending' on the other end. There are plenty of shades in the palette to go from natural makeup to going out makeup and I've not stopped using this since I received it. It's a really wearable palette with some shimmers that pack on the pigment, but I'm a tad scared to use Privacy as it is so dark next to my skin tone. 


The shades include:
Hot Spot (an ivory matte which I use under the brow)
Caution (a soft neutral mate beige)
Bang Bang (a shimmering pink with a gold shift and iridescent micro-sparkle)
Feelz (a soft taupe-pink matte)
Juicy (a warm peach)
Turn On (a palette rose metallic shimmer)


Ambitious (a metallic rose copper)
Bing (a deep mauve matte)
Young Love (a metallic cranberry)
Drunk Dial (a metallic deep burgundy)
Privacy (a deep brown matte)

(swatched: Ambitious, Privacy, Bing, Feelz, Juicy, Bang Bang and Devilish)

Overall I'm even more impressed with the Naked Cherry Palette than I first thought, and more so than the Naked Heat Palette. I adore that palette but I can't stop picking this one up. I am a complete sucker for shades like this, and personally, it has a great balance of mattes to shimmers, blends really well, isn't too powdery and hasn't let me down so far. You can bet I've not yet rocked a complete dark look yet but the time may come closer to Christmas.



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Pixi Skintreats Tonic Samples


Pixi is a makeup and skincare brand that was created over 15 years ago and now has support across the globe. They launched their flagship store in Soho, London and the creator Petra Strand has over 20 years experience as a product developer and makeup artist. The products created by Pixi are designed to help fix flaws and make you look younger without taking up too much of your time. Their mission has not changed since the day they opened their first store and it revolves around making women look their best by embracing their natural beauty. I've been trying out some of their Skintreats tonics to help improve my own skin. As I have combination skin it's often difficult to manage so having some other skincare products to try is always welcomed.


The first product I've been trying out is the Retinol Tonic. The tonic contains some key ingredients to help improve your skin. Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative which helps to revitalise the skin, even out your complexion and decrease the appearance of fine lines. It also contains peptides that will increase collagen production and firm your skin while Jasmine Flower helps to improve the health of your skin. All of these come together to produce an "advanced youth preserving toner". It can be used every day and should be applied after cleansing.

Glow Tonic was the second one I've been using and it's an alcohol-free toner that will brighten, even out and clear up your skin. It's created with 5% Glycolic Acid which assists with exfoliation, as well as containing aloe vera, botanical extracts and ginseng that will nurture the skin. This toner can be used morning or evening, each day, or just when you feel like you need it. It can be used across your face, lower neckline and neck, but should not be used around your eyes.


The last product I had been trying was the Rose Tonic, which is a nourishing toner with elderflower and rose. It's designed to help even the hydration level of your skin and take out any impure items. As it's packed with nutrients it will also help normalise your pH and lessen the levels of redness in the skin. You should feel refreshed and rehydrated after using this. It can be used morning and evening once you have cleansed to keep you feeling your best. 

I've enjoyed trying out these toners recently and been impressed with how quick and easy they are to apply. I think they could be great to take away with you to ensure you can still look after your skin when you aren't home, with the toners coming in a range of sizes to allow for easy packing. I'm looking forward to keeping using these as I've already seen positive results over the few weeks I've been trying them out so far.



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Halloween Decorations At Home Bargains


Halloween has to be my favourite time of the year. Something about all the costumes, the movies, going trick or treating as a child, it all just comes together to make it such a fun and exciting time. My favourite Halloween film has to be The Nightmare Before Christmas and I'll watch it every year without fail. I've always enjoyed decorating the house to make it look all spooky and love a good pumpkin calving session, even if it does take ages to get it looking good. When Home Bargains got in touch and wanted to send over a box of Halloween goodies I was so excited as you can never have enough Halloween things! 


There was a variety of items within this box to help provide all the things you should need for a spooky night in. A useful item for any Halloween look is the family make up set which contains mini makeup sticks, colour makeup, cream makeup, sponges, mini lipstick and mini nail polish. To add to the costume there were a couple of mask options, one masquerade style and one like a pumpkin. For decoration, I received some themed balloons, a 3-metre long set of bunting, a window sticker, fake skeleton, creepy eyeballs and a skull-shaped drinks glass. To finish the Halloween package off, it had some limited edition darkside Skittles and some sugary favourites lollies and sweets.


If you want to get yourself some Halloween themed goodies, Home Bargains have a selection of items to help decorate the house, disguise yourself in a costume as well as provide you with some sweet treats. You can also do this without breaking the bank as they are reasonably priced so that you can get everything you want for the perfect Halloween party. They also have a range of children's costumes too so you'll be able to get something for the whole family. There's not long left before Halloween so you'll be best to head there now to ensure you're kitted out in time for Wednesday 31st October. I can't wait for the fun to begin at Halloween, where you can watch scary films and eat Halloween themed chocolate.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
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A Birthday Biscuit Treat From Biscuiteers


My birthday is coming up at the end of this week and I'm marking a quarter of a century. I was lucky enough to be sent the Birthday Treats Biscuit Tin (£35.00) to review by Biscuiteers. The brand idea was thought up one weekend when the founders took a trip to New York. The aim of creating these biscuits was for them to "look as beautiful as they tasted". After launching in September 2007, the company has maintained the same handmade approach to producing their biscuits, which means every biscuit is unique.


As soon as unwrapped the package I was greeted by a pretty and distinctive tin that was housing the biscuits. I opened the lid to find 8 beautifully designed biscuits that almost looked too good to eat. I was immediately impressed by the detail and it was clear that much care had gone into producing them. The range of designs gave a new feel to this type of product as there was clearly effort gone into these to ensure they all had an individual design. The biscuits tasted nice and fresh and had a good crunch to them without being too dry. Even though the biscuits were reasonably thick, they still had a good icing to biscuit ratio which was nice to see. 


For those times when you'd like to get someone a gift but you don't live close to them, this would be a good option for you to place the order online and get them delivered to their door. These biscuits could be a perfect alternative to giving someone flowers and would show that you have thought about their gift. As Biscuiteers have a few different box styles, they could also be a perfect option to be bought for work events when you want to have something a little different to the standard pack of biscuits that are normally used. If you'd like to order some biscuits for a gift, or even to treat yourself, check out the Biscuiteers range on their website and find the ones that are right for you.


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