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Wellness Wishlist 2018

When doing workouts and other activities, having the right kit can help make your life easier and allow you to get the most out of your sessions. Being able to wear things that will be suitable for working out that you feel comfortable in can make a big difference as you then feel happier and more motivated to succeed. Whether it's pilates, yoga, a walk in the park or full-blown workouts, there is something here for you. I've picked out some of the items that I like that would be great to have as part of my wellness routine.

This woven jacket has a hood, long sleeves and a zip front so would be good to throw on as an extra layer or for when you are doing activities outside. I've been looking at different workout jackets as I want one that does the job but still looks pretty, and I'm not saying the main reason I chose this was because it's pink...

If you want a pair of leggings that you can wear for any of your activities, these bum-sculpting leggings are for you. They are designed in a technical fabric will help to remove sweat, while having the perfect mix of recovery and stretch. The grey will go well with a lot of other colours and aren't in your face either.

Being able to listen to your favourite songs or have your workout playlist on to keep you motivated, having some good headphones will be useful. Having a sweat proof design, wireless function, moulded earpieces and plenty of battery life make these the perfect workout headphones.

For those who are starting out with Yoga or want to upgrade their current mat, this pastel one will look pretty while still providing the cushioning you need. Being PVC it will clean up easily for when you have finished your session and rolled up would still look cute in your home.

These type of leggings are currently my favourite with the mesh panelling. They are breathable, high-waisted and a stretchy material so they should be great for workouts. As they are black, they can be paired with many other coloured tops so will be a verstitle option for your wardrobe.  

Having good footwear is one of the key parts of your outfit and important to make sure you are supported properly from the ground up. Although they need to be comfy, this doesn't mean they can't be really pretty. These lace up ones from Puma will take care of your feet while looking the part. I would definitely wear these casually too with jeans and maybe the jacket I've also listed.

Seen as the weather is still a little tempremental and it's still quite chilly outside, having a warm extra layer will keep you toasty when you head out. I think this sweatshirt would be ideal to throw on if you were heading out for a walk this spring.

I think this would be a great set to have when I'm doing pilates as it would still allow the free range of movement you need. Wearing something that still looks fashionable while being functional is a bonus. The leggings are 3/4 length that is paired with the medium impact sports bra which will be useful when you don't need a full sized top.

These can be used for a number of different things such as stretching, strength activities and other exercices. They are a good item to have in your collection so that you will be able do a variety of things and can often help get you started with some exercises.  

This soft cotton top comes in a regualr fit with a fun 'Let's Yoge' slogan across the front. It has short rolled sleeves and a round neckline and the overall cut of the top should be loose enough for doing your yoga stretches. 

Another item for yoga is this ballet wrap made from warm and soft fabric that is still breathable and has anti-bacterial effects. This can be tied to the front and is soft on your skin and would be perfect to pair with a some leggings for doing yoga. I definitely had a similar wrap when I did ballet as a child but they look so cute that I'd love to pick one up again.

Keeping yourself hydrated is important at the best of times, particually when you are doing any form of exercise. I love this bottle with the 'rise and shine it's gym time' slogan across the front and the pretty rose gold bottle top. 

If you fancy blasting your music out while you work out, then a handy little wireless speaker can be ideal to keep around. You can connect your device via bluetooth and will get around 10-12 hours of playback time on one charge. Oh and it also fits in with my interior theme I have going on.

These leggings have been designed to be a comfortable fit with their seamless technology that also lets the leggings compliment your body. They will been you dry and cool with their moisuture wicking capabilities with the compression fit helping to improve circulation. Ombré hair may have gone out of style, but these have not.

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Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill Chester Review

As part of my stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa Chester, I was able to test out the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill. The restaurant is attached to and accessible through the hotel so is perfect for when you are staying at the Hilton. It's also open to the public so if you are ever in Chester then you can go and enjoy drinks and a meal. I found it to be cosy, being in a booth we were able to look out into the restaurant. It has a number of different sections which split it up nicely and meant you weren't just in a large open room that became too noisy. You can also enjoy impressive views of the grounds of the hotel which adds to the overall enjoyable experience.

For starters, we both actually ended up going for the Classic French Onion Soup (£6.75) which had croutons and Gruyére cheese on top to add some texture. I've not had this type of soup for years and really enjoyed it. It had plenty of flavour and the portion size was just about right, without enough to enjoy without filling you up too much before your main. For the second course we both looked at different parts of the menu. Andy loves a good steak and it was the perfect place to have a few to choose from. He went for the Grilled 35 Day Aged Sirloin 10oz Steak (£25.95) that was served with pommes frites and was complemented by the Classic peppercorn and brandy sauce and on the vine tomatoes. Having it medium well-done, it had plenty of flavour without being too dry, and you could tell it was a higher quality meat. I don't eat steak myself so went for the Classic Macaroni Cheese (£13.95) that came with poached egg, wild mushrooms and herbs. The meal was nice and quite filling so couldn't end up finishing it. I think it may have been better without the egg due to the very similar silky textures and there were a lot of mushrooms, though it was still enjoyable.

As part of our meal, we enjoyed a bottle of Californian Vendange White Zinfandel Rose Wine (£22.50) which was nice to enjoy with our meal. For dessert, we ended up both fancying the Mr Coulson's Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce (£5.95). It was a lovely end to the meal and worked particularly well with the sauce. I found our experience at the restaurant really nice, the food was great and came out in good time, and we had a lovely blonde who served us and made sure we had everything we need to make our visit run smoothly. The interior was different, with dark blue walls with matching velvet-like fabric chairs which is exactly what I'd choose if I was selecting the theme of the restaurant. I'd come again for sure and would try to pick out some other options from the menu.

Complimentary meal in return for a review.

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 as we ate here as part of the overall hotel review.

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.  

Post contains press samples.

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!

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