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DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa Chester Review

I've always loved travelling and visiting new places and have found that my favourite type of trip is to do short breaks away in hotels. Hilton invited me to stay in their Chester Hotel and experience the 18th Century Manor House that is set in beautiful grounds. It's located only two miles from Chester City Centre so is perfectly located to explore the historic city. They have recently refurbished and extended the hotel which includes the addition of 79 new bedrooms which is where we stayed. It has been given a new look that fits in with the history of the hotel while maintaining the class and comfort of Hilton. Facilities at the hotel include The Garden Room, a Lounge/Bar area, the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, a fitness room and the DoubleTree by Hilton Spa. 

When arriving at the hotel we were greeted by Alice on reception who was very friendly and welcoming. The warm conversation about what we had planned for our stay and where we have come from gave a nice personal touch. We were informed that we had complimentary access to the spa which we didn't know beforehand so hadn't packed any swimwear. You can buy some swimming attire at the spa, however, I didn't see the point in this for a one-night stay. Shortly after arriving the check in was all sorted and we were handed our room key along with a couple of warm fresh cookies to take to our room. I can't think of a better welcome than that.

The room we were staying in was one of their new King Junior Suites. It was large and had a great layout that was split into different areas while still maintaining the open plan look and feel. You get a super king bed and a large smart TV with Sky that can be rotated between facing the bed and the two-seater sofa. Two well-sized wardrobes give you space to store your clothing and other items while containing some handy amenities such as a safe, iron and ironing board and robe & slippers. A tray with a good selection of tea and coffee making facilities can also be taken out of the wardrobe, making it easy to make refreshments. There's also a fridge with complimentary snacks and drinks inside but after taking the time to look around and have dinner etc we completely forgot to make us of it. The desk area has plenty of space to do any work or comes in handy to your makeup and has plenty of plug sockets which came in useful when straightening my hair. The bathroom is a decent size with a large wall mirror and a smaller movable magnifier mirror which are useful and could be good for doing makeup. I'm not able to do my makeup standing up due to chronic illnesses but I was more than happy to sit at the desk. Having some Crabtree and Evelyn mini shower items were handy and I know Andy particularly enjoyed having an overhead second shower head that he could actually fit under as he's quite tall. Our suite had a lovely view across to the garden terrace and was nice to see something different that wasn't just a patch of land or another wall of the hotel. 

The spa that is part of the hotel offers a selection of treatments and provides a "blissful oasis away from the stresses of everyday life". A relaxing range of options including wet and dry thermal suites, Watsu hydra therapy pool, steam room, sauna, Hamman mudroom and aroma room as well as an outside heated pool with waterfall. Access to this can be added for £15 per room or £25 for a family room with any treatments having additional individual prices. As part of our stay, we went for an Elemis Introduction Facial in the spa. There was a 'before' room when you could start to wind down in the comfortable seating and enjoy the complimentary juice bar and herbal tea. From here I was taken to the treatment room by the spa therapist Meg. She was really lovely and made me feel relaxed from the start and throughout the process. When I got to the treatment room I talked through my skincare regime and the type of skin that I have. I was also asked about any medical conditions and checked that the mini massage would be okay.

I lied down to a relaxing facial that helped to soothe and cleanse my skin. I wasn't expecting the head and neck massage to be part of the treatment but it helped me to relax and I came out really calm. At the end of the session, Meg recommended some Elemis products to us which for me was the Superfood Facial Wash (£25) and the Hydra-boost Day Cream (£40). Andy mentioned that he really enjoyed the facial and didn't feel like it was just designed for women. He also particularly enjoyed the head massage part of the session. We both felt that our skin was noticeably softer and more nourished afterwards plus feeling much more relaxed. You were then taken into the 'after' room where you could continue to wind down for as long as you wished on the beanbags and beds while enjoying the complimentary lemon sorbet. The treatment lasts around 30 minutes and costs £45 which I think is a reasonable price for what you get. I would probably pay that just for a head massage so the added bonus of having your skin all clean and moisturised was great. I didn't know that you are not supposed to wear makeup for rest of day post-treatment and we had dinner booked so I had to break the rules a little but I didn't feel like it changed how my skin felt after taking it off later on.

We decided to enjoy breakfast in the room as they have a good selection on their menu. You can either call up or leave your order on the door hanger the night before to have it delivered at your chosen time the next morning. There is a £5 charge if you wish to do this but that's not much to enjoy it in the comfort of your own room. Alternatively, you can go down to the Garden Room to have your breakfast. We went for a selection of items including granola, fruit, pastries and traditional cooked items with pots of tea and fresh apple juice. It was fresh and delicious, and gave the perfect start to the morning. We actually ordered not knowing that this was also complimentary as part of our review, so we used the door hanger to order one breakfast (I'm not too hungry in the mornings) but when we spoke to Alice on the reception she informed us that it was a part of our stay and since we had booked the biggest breakfast for Andy they doubled it so we had a choice. Andy preferred the cooked breakfat whereas I enjoyed the melon and granola so it all worked out well. I'd definitely get another breakfast at the Hilton in the future.

I had a lovely stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Chester Hotel and Spa, and was able to enjoy a relaxing time where I could wind down and get away from normal life to come away feeling refreshed. The hotel was set in some impressive grounds and had some of the best scenery I've experienced when going away. I had never stayed at a Hilton hotel before but have already been looking into booking our own stay as it was very well-rounded. The grounds looked so pretty as the March snow had come down quite heavy the day before too. There is also a review of the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill coming up but it would have been too long to include in this post.

Complimentary stay in return for a review.

Treats Direct Delivered Sweets Review & Giveaway

There are many subscription boxes available these days for a whole host of things, whether this is beauty, lifestyle or entertainment. A variety of food boxes also give you the opportunity to try new things, but I've not tried or seen a food one specifically for sweets. Sometimes when you fancy a little treat, having a mixture of sweet things can be ideal rather than having a big bag of sweets. I've always had a bit of a sweet tooth and enjoy trying out new things, which is what made it particularly hard to give up chocolate for a month. Pic 'n' Mix was one of those things as a child that you always used to love, particularly when you went to the cinema and got a pot of goodies. Nowadays, it's so expensive to get Pic 'n' Mix which has taken the fun out of it.

Treats Direct have created a subscription box that means you can receive a selection of sweet choices to your door for you to enjoy. It's so easy to get started with the box, it works by signing yourself up and then your random surprise box will arrive at your door, whether you want this to your home or place of work. You can get your first box for only £2.49 and get to experience your selection of 4 different sweets packages. There is a great selection of treats that may be included in your box, 167 of them to be precise, that can be anything you would find in a Pic 'n' Mix. I've enjoyed trying some of this great choice of sweets as I could test out a mix of items and was perfect for when I only wanted a little bit of each. These two boxes contained Blue Crashed Saucers, Cherries, Foam Mushrooms, Giant Sour Jelly Strawbs, Rainbow Stripes, Vanilla Fudge, Chocolate Cups and Zazzies.

Another great feature of this box from Treats Direct is that you can gift it to someone, whether this is to friends, family or even someone you work with. This can be done as a one-off or for multiple boxes. I think these would be such a great gift to show your appreciation to someone or to give as a congratulations present. You get to add a personalised message for the lucky recipient and then your gift will be on its way with free delivery. Another alternative way to share the love of sweets is to buy an e-gift voucher which can be tailored to the number of boxes you wish to give. If you want to be in with a chance of winning your very own box, follow the steps below and remember to read the terms and conditions. There are two lucky winners this time!

UK entries only. Treats Direct giveaway ends 12th March 2018 at 11:59pm. Must follow @laurahadleyx and @treatsdirect and still be following by the time the giveaway ends. To enter, follow @laurahadleyx and @treatsdirect on Twitter and retweet the tweet to qualify, quote retweets and replies are not permitted. Winner will be notified via Twitter within one week. The prize will be posted by Treats Direct. No cash alternative. Two winners will be selected.

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Zero Carb Zero Sugar White Wine | SlimLine Wine

I've never been one to drink a lot but when I do fancy something alcoholic, I'm often tempted by a glass of wine. Although I have this as a nice treat, when you consume liquids it's often easy to forget how bad they can be for you. A large glass of wine can be the equivalent of a slice of chocolate cake which makes you think a bit differently about what you are drinking. There will be occasions when it's nice to enjoy some wine, so having something that's not quite as bad for you is one less thing for you to worry about. 

Slimline wine have created an entire range of zero sugar, zero carbs wine that is a world first. They are designed to be much healthier while not compromising the strength or taste of the wine. Made using "the finest grapes from the finest wine makers", this high-quality premium wine lets you enjoy a glass without feeling so guilty. The range can be enjoyed in Crisp White, Super Sparkling White & Pink and Really Red. Don't worry about this wine be healthier but weaker, as it still has a 10.5% ABV which is comparable to many wines out there already. 

Having no sugars or carbs in the wine is a great benefit, and when you couple this with the fact that it's only 373 calories per bottle, it sounds even more appealing. Priced at £10.99 for the Sparkling White & Pink and £8.99 for the Really Red and Crisp White, you can pick them up on the Slimline Wine website. I can definitely see this wine being a popular choice, particularly for those who would like to enjoy a tipple but want to keep an eye on their intake. I'm by no means a wine connoisseur and I'm not too fussy about which wine I drink, but when I've been trying out the Crisp White wine, I have been pleasantly surprised by the taste as it didn't seem to be affected by being a zero sugar and zero carb wine. I think it would be worth giving this a try as a good way to help reduce the number of carbs and sugar you have without having to give up that glass of wine.  

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Giving Up Chocolate... Again!

I'm someone who has a major sweet tooth. My Great Nan used to give me 50p to buy a treat from the shop when I was little and pretty much most of the time I'd buy as many Freddos I could. Although I'm not as bad now, aside from the fact that Freddos are a ripoff, I do tend to look for something sweet to have after tea. I go to my Nan's house and she offers me a chocolate digestive, I have dessert in a restaurant and I'll have something chocolate based, or be snuggling up with a blanket and enjoying a hot chocolate. It seems to be everywhere and sometimes your body really needs a break from it all. 

Two years ago I gave it up for Dechox and here I am doing it again. This time I've roped Andy in to do it as well. It's not just chocolate you give up during the month of March, but anything with cocoa in which can be pretty at hard at times. The challenge is to make it through the whole month while raising money for The British Heart Foundation, and together our goal is to hit £300. I really hope we can hit or even surpass our goal, and you can donate via the website or via text. To text donate send a message "ASLH50" then the amount so £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to the number 70070.

It's going to be a tough challenge but I'm ready to take it on and push through. I did it in 2016 and I felt so empowered knowing that for a whole month I can give up something I love and donate to charity for it. Every time I raise money for charity I donate myself too. After the month is up I might just have to indulge in some chocolate brownies to celebrate. Please click the button below and sponsor me even if it's £1, after all it's cheaper than a hot chocolate!

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Marc Jacobs Decadence At Fragrance Direct | Mother's Day Gifts

At this time of year when approaching Mother's Day, it's the time when you'll be looking for a gift to celebrate your Mum or mother figure in your life. It could be Mum, Auntie, Nan, Stepmum or an older Sister. Maybe even a family friend, it's whoever you see as a maternal figure. Instead of gifting them a box of chocolates or the biggest bunch of flowers you see which will only last a short period of time, why not give them a gift that will last much longer? Every time they wear it, they'll be reminded of what they mean to you. The Marc Jacobs Decadence Eau de Parfum from Fragrance Direct could be a great Mother's Day gift idea. 

The perfume is a sensual woody scent that has an alluring top of golden saffron, fresh Italian plum and velvety iris. The heart note is made up of lavish Bulgarian rose that infuses with "creamy nuances of jasmine sambac". The other notes are heady vetiver, liquid amber and warm papyrus woods. Marc's handbag design inspired by the classic look of the bottle, coloured in an attractive emerald green. To finish the handbag appearance is a black tassel and gold chain attached to the textured cap. 

Full prices for the bottles are £49.00 for the 30ml and £69.00 for the 50ml, but on Fragrance Direct they are currently priced at £41.95 (30ml) and £39.95 (50ml) so it's worth your while picking up the 50ml as it's cheaper. I like this scent as it's a little different to anything I've experienced before, and I particularly love the bottle design. If you are still looking for a Mother's Day idea, then this Decadence perfume from Marc Jacob's could be an ideal gift.

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Letting My Fiancé Choose My Lingerie | John Lewis DD+

When Andy was tasked with picking out a lingerie set for me, he was glad to see that there was a handy guide from John Lewis to help him get it right. Sometimes it can be a little daunting if you had to buy an item like this for someone else if it isn't what you're used to as there are more things to think about. Although he is familiar with sizing, I think that the information in the guide would come in useful to anyone who is unsure, as getting this right is key to buying this type of clothing. One thing that he found particularly useful was the advice on choosing the right colour and relating this back to the general theme of my other clothes. I have quite a lot of lighter clothing, so when Andy went through the guide it helped him to then look for something of a similar shade so that it would match with what I'd wear.

The set that Andy picked out was by Fantasie who I've never bought lingerie from before. He chose out the Sienna Side Support Balcony Bra in Tea Rose with matching briefs. The bra features floral embroidery which is a pretty and delicate pattern. It has underwired cups and the side support allows for a flattering appearance by helping to project your chest. A soft and smooth finish to the briefs gives a romantic touch and provides comfort, particularly with the seamless back.

John Lewis has a good range of lingerie brands, including Bluebella, Freya, Fantasie and And/Or so there should be an option for whoever you are buying for. Some tips for picking out the right pieces is to have a look at what they already own and the type of lingerie this is. Don't be too adventurous with your choices and try not to go too far away from their current selection. Setting yourself a budget can help you narrow down the options to make it slightly less daunting. Andy had a bit of a different task as I currently wear a GG cup, but there are still plenty of options to choose from including matching sets. Buying lingerie is a great gift for occasions such as Valentine's Day and anniversaries and I would definitely recommend using the guide as it's something you want to get right the first time around.

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